Alcohol and Health: What You Need to Understand

What are the Effects of Drinking on your Health?

Debate rages on about the relationship between alcohol and health. The effects of alcohol depend on how much you take per day and the frequency in a week.

Alcohol is both poisonous and soothing, the difference being in the dose. Drinking in moderation is beneficial to the circulatory system and the heart. On the other hand, heavy drinking can lead to death through traffic accidents. It can also harm an unborn child, damage the heart and liver, contribute to violence and depression, and destroy relationships you’re your family or even friends.

What is Moderate Drinking?

The amount of alcohol a man should consume is different from what is considered the standard for a woman.
An adult male should take two standard drinks per day and 12-14 drinks per week. Female adults should also not exceed one drink per day and not take more than eight drinks in a week.
Drinking moderately also means controlling your drinking speed to keep your blood alcohol levels below .055.

What Constitutes One Drink and How Much Alcohol Should It Drink Contain?

  • One drink of beer should be 355 ml or 12 ounces with 5% alcohol content.
  • A standard glass of wine should be 148 ml or 5 ounces with a 12% alcohol content. 
  • The amount of distilled spirits in one drink is 1.5 ounces of 80-proof or 44 ml with 40% alcohol content.
  • Eight ounces of malt liquor make one drink with an alcoholic content of 7%.

Effects of Alcohol on Health

Excessive alcohol intake for long can cause the following health complications on various body organs.

Endocrine and Digestive Glands

Taking too much alcohol causes pancreas inflammation, which results in pancreatitis. This condition can initiate the discharge of pancreatic digestive enzymes resulting in abdominal pain.

Inflammatory Liver Damage

The liver removes and breaks down toxins and other harmful substances from the body. Taking alcohol for a long time compromises this process, thus increasing your risk of chronic liver inflammation and liver disease.
Liver disease associated with excessive alcohol intake leads to waste and toxins buildup in your body. Liver inflammation may lead to cirrhosis or scarring. When scars form in the liver, it may cause permanent liver damage.

Blood Sugar Levels

Your pancreas helps your body respond to glucose and use insulin. An improperly functioning liver and pancreas because of liver disease and pancreatitis may cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. A malfunctioning pancreas may also prevent the body from discharging sufficient insulin to use sugar. This leads to excess blood sugar or hyperglycemia.
If your body cannot balance and manage levels of blood sugar, you’ll experience complications associated with diabetes.

The Central Nervous System

When alcohol gets into your bloodstream, communication between your body and brain reduces. This makes it challenging to coordinate balance and reaction time, so it is not advisable to drive after drinking. Alcohol use over time may damage your central nervous system, where you’ll notice tingling and numbness in your hands and feet.

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