Original post : 13 Jan 2015

The effects of Alcohol

The Effects of Alcohol

Generally everybody likes a drink every now and then, and some more often than others - in fact the amount of social drinking and drinking in the home is rising quite sharply.  It is all too easy to open a bottle of wine in an evening, and soon the whole bottle has gone.

But have you any idea of the damage alcohol is doing to your body? 

Let's imagine we have had a few drinks. Like everything we ingest into our bodies, it needs to be 'processed'.  Alcohol is primarily broken down in the liver.  Unfortunately when this process happens it produces a chemical that is toxic to the body .  The name of this chemical is acetaldehyde.  This chemical has the ability to speed up the production of cells, but whilst doing so may also interfere with their genes and ultimately produce cancer cells.

The Cancer Research Institute has, in fact, identified seven cancers as the result of alcohol and acetaldehyde

  • Esophagus
  • Mouth
  • Pharynx
  •  Larynx
  •  Liver
  •  Breast

As well as cancer, alcohol can cause detrimental effects to our organs. All the body's organs are working hard to keep the body in prime condition and  the processes are  finely tuned  to ensure that the body runs smoothly.  Think of when you might have put diesel into a petrol car by mistake, all of a sudden the car does not work so well.  This is similar to putting too much alcohol over a long time into your body.  The metabolic processes which keep the body running smoothly are affected, and the organs cannot work as effectively as they should.  The heart muscle may become weakened causing a condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy; a stroke or hyper tension ( raised blood pressure) may occur.  The pancreas may misbehave through getting the wrong signals and the liver which works so hard to break down the alcohol may begin to show signs of wear and tear through conditions called fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.

If you are one of many that turns to alcohol to help to relieve stress take care.  It may well work to help in the short term however  remember that alcohol is a depressant in itself.  Over time if drunk in large amounts may contribute to feelings of depression making stress harder to deal with.  If possible try and reduce stress by more holistic methods and leave the drinking for pleasure.

Know your units:

Men should drink 4 or less units daily and women 3 or less  units daily

Examples of 1 unit

half a pint of beer

half a small wine glass

One single measure of spirits

 Top tip

If you are the pub and have a glass of wine, the probability is that you will have be given a large glass which is 250ml, so for a women this one glass is 3 units your daily amount.

 

Alcohol can affect your weight and is  nicknamed 'empty calories' as the calorific content of 1g is equal to 7 calories and you are not getting any nutrients with your drink, just sugar which ultimately turns to fat.

However it is not all doom and gloom!  Alcohol in the right quantities can be good for you, it can help to reduce heart disease by raising the good cholesterol in the blood. 

However like everything it is moderation, watch your units and drink sensibly.

 

 

 

 

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