Drinking too much alcohol is devastating to a healthy body. Alcohol is a prevalent part of celebrations, dinners and socializing, but controlling the amount of alcohol consumed is necessary to preventing serious health problems or life threatening illnesses.
How Alcohol Travels Through the Body
In the human body alcohol is not digested like food or other liquids, instead it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth, throat, stomach, and small intestines. Drinking large quantities of alcohol can leave you malnourished, because the body works harder to break down food resulting in sluggishness brought on by low glucose levels. Alcohol is an irritant so it can cause ailments such as ulcers, acid reflux disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Flowing along with the bloodstream alcohol travels through the kidney, liver, heart and brain. Chronic binge drinking or drinking more than two servings of alcohol daily will start to damage organs. Problems associated with heavy drinking are high blood pressure, rapid or low heart rate, weakened and enlarged heart, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, kidney failure, or damage to the central nervous system and brain.
Why Alcohol Affects Health Well-being
Alcohol empties the healthy body of important vitamins and minerals leaving the immune system compromised and open to diseases and infections. It disrupts the body’s ability to grow muscle and burn fat along with causing dehydration. Vitamins like A, B, and C are needed for healthy skin, vitality and health well-being. The healthy body also loses potassium when a large amount of alcohol is consumed. Potassium is needed to balance the electrolytes in the body to ensure the healthy function of cells, organs and to prevent a calcium deficiency. Severe dehydration can also contribute to organs failing especially the kidney. Signs of dehydration include headache, soreness and nausea. Alcohol abuse can lead to cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and pancreas. For women who drink a lot of alcohol, they are prone to bone loss and an increased chance of breast and uterine cancer.
Alcohol and Mental Health
Alcohol impedes the flow of blood to the brain thus hurting mental health or causing brain damage. Essential for mental health is vitamin B which alcohol depletes from the body. Prolonged alcohol drinking can trigger blackouts, seizures, convulsions, delusions, hallucinations, dementia and violent behavior. Alcohol affects memory, coordination and reflexes. Side affects from alcohol are depression and anxiety.
Alcohol and Smoking
People who frequent bars to drink are at a higher risk for engaging in other unhealthy behavior. Smoking cigarettes, exposure to constant second hand smoke, and eating greasy fried foods like French fries, nachos, chicken wings and potato skins can all contribute to serious health issues when they are combined with drinking alcohol. Premature aging happens when the body is exposed to smoke which narrows blood vessels effectively starving the body of needed oxygen. Drinking removes vitamin A from a healthy body and without it the skin loses collagen and elasticity creating wrinkles. The skin is also more susceptible to bacteria and infections.