The Effects of Alcohol – How Alcohol Affects Your Body

The impact of alcohol starts from the moment you take the first sip. While that occasional glass of wine is not a cause for concern, drinking too much beer, rum, whiskey, gin, vodka or tequila can take its toll. Read on to know more about the effects of alcohol on the human body.

Effects of Alcohol

Liver

LiverThe liver is a very important organ because it helps break down harmful substances and remove them from the body, including alcohol. Long-term drinking of alcohol disrupts the function of the liver and increases the risk of liver disease. The inflammation can cause scarring of the liver or cirrhosis. The scar tissue formed will damage the liver.

As damage to the liver increases, it will be more difficult for the body to remove the toxic substances inside. Liver disease can lead to the accumulation of toxins and buildup of waste materials inside the body and is life threatening.

Central Nervous System

Drunk ManThe effects of alcohol on the nervous system will help you understand the impact of alcoholism on your body. If you drink too much, your speech will be slurred. Coordination between the brain and body will also be affected. That is why driving after drinking must be avoided.

Due to increased damage to the nervous system, numbness and tingling sensation may be experienced in your hands and feet. Thinking and decision-making are also impaired. Alcohol abuse may even cause permanent brain damage. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder which affects memory, may also develop, as alcohol interferes with vitamin B-1 absorption and storage.

Digestive System

Digestive SystemDrinking alcohol can damage your digestive tract, preventing the intestines from digesting the food taken and absorbing the nutrients. Heavy drinking of alcohol can also lead to bloating or feeling of fullness in the abdominal area, gassiness, and diarrhea.

People who drink alcohol heavily may also develop ulcers or hemorrhoids, which may cause internal bleeding. People who drink too much alcohol are at risk for cancer in the colon, liver, esophagus, mouth, and throat.

Dependency

Heavy drinkers of alcohol may be physically and emotionally dependent on alcohol. Those who wish to withdraw may experience difficulty in doing so. Professional help might be necessary to break the addiction. Detoxification may be needed, and this may be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

Circulatory System

Alcohol will also affect your heart and lungs. People who are heavy drinkers of alcohol have a greater risk of heart-related diseases than people who do not drink. Complications include difficulty pumping blood throughout the body, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and other heart-related diseases.

If there is difficulty in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food due to excessive alcohol intake, an individual may also develop anemia, a condition characterized by low red blood cell count. One of the major symptoms of anemia is fatigue.

Sugar Levels

The pancreas is the organ that helps regulate the use of insulin and the response of the body to glucose. If both the pancreas and the liver aren’t functioning well, you may experience low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. A damaged pancreas may also cause the body not to produce enough insulin to utilize sugar, which will lead to hyperglycemia, or having too much sugar in the blood.

If the level of blood sugar in the body is not properly managed and controlled, you may experience the complications and side effects of diabetes. Excessive intake of alcohol is harmful to people with diabetes because of the damage to the liver and the pancreas.

Reproductive Health

If you drink alcohol while you’re pregnant, you are putting your unborn child at risk. Pregnant women who drink alcohol heavily have a higher risk of premature delivery, stillbirth, or miscarriage. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD) is also a concern.

Typical Alcohol by Volume (ABV) – Alcohol Percentage Content

Vodka: 40-95%
Tequila: 50-51%
Rum: 36-50%
Whiskey: 36-50%
Gin: 36-50%
Liqueurs: 15%
Wine: 11-16%
Beer: 4-8%

Conclusion

Moderate drinking of red wines (one glass per day) have shown some health benefits, most likely due to their flavonoid and resveratrol content. But if you don’t drink it already, it may not be the best way to get your antioxidants due to the negative effects of alcohol on the body, as described in this article.

While occasional social drinking of alcohol might not be too detrimental to your health, if the habit grows and you find it hard to stop drinking, that can cause long-lasting damage to your body.

Now that you know the effects of alcohol, would you still drink? The answer is up to you.

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