We have all heard that a glass of wine or beer every now and then is good for the overall health. But, we should also be aware that too much alcohol can lead to certain health risks. Namely, along with the common skin problems, nausea, hangover and severe headaches, excessive alcohol consumption poses a serious risk to the human health.
Health Effects Of Alcohol
Health risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption are blood clots, heart disease, liver inflammation, stomach ulcers, wounds from vomiting, respiratory diseases and nutritional deficiencies (lack of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients). Too much alcohol can also cause sexual problems, osteoporosis, and in severe cases, death.
For example, there’s solid evidence that people who drink about 220 ml of spirits or 5 liters of beer per week, double their risk of dying from a stroke or a heart attack. The risk of cancer increases as well. Even moderate consumption increases the risk of breast, stomach and lung cancer.
In addition, alcohol consumption contributes to excess weight and obesity. Namely, one glass of white wine has 82 calories, gin and tonic have 140 calories, and half a liter of beer has more than 200 calories.
How Alcohol Affects The Brain
Scientists agree that alcohol has toxic effects, and long-term abuse can damage all organs, including the brain. Studies show that constant consumption has a negative impact on the brain, the thinking abilities, and motor functions. There’s evidence that significant damage can occur in several regions of the brain after just four days of heavy drinking. And sometimes, the state of drunkenness can cause irreversible damage to the brain cells.
Alcoholics or people who regularly drink are prone to depression and anxiety, have a reduced ability to learn new things, recall a memory, make decisions, and sometimes, they also lack the ability to live their lives with full speed. Heavy drinking selectively interferes with the brain areas that process the new data into proper motor functions. Thus, a drunken person cannot walk properly and has no balance, and had difficulties monitoring and processing visual information.
While it is generally believed that only alcoholics have a problem, recent research shows that people who habitually drink to excess also have problems with their cognitive performance. Scientific evidence shows that getting drunk repeatedly increases the levels of alcohol in the brain, and therefore, can cause serious damages.
Short-Term Health Risks
Alcohol abuse has short-term consequences, which increase the health risks. Thus, be careful of how much you drink, as the list is long!
– Accidental injuries, such as falls, traffic injuries, burns, drowning, and unintentional injuries from firearm.
– Violence, such as violence against partners and child abuse. Some research shows that about 35 percent of victims state that their perpetrators were under influence.
– Risky sexual behavior, such as unprotected intercourse and sexual assault. These types of behavior can lead to an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
– Alcohol poisoning, which is a result of high levels of alcohol in the blood and its interference with the central nervous system. This can cause low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, coma, low body temperature, problems with the respiratory system, or sometimes even death.
Long-Term Health Risks
Long-term, constant abuse of alcohol can cause social problems, neurological damage and chronic diseases.
– Psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression.
– Social problems, such as family problems, loss of productivity and unemployment.
– Neurological problems like neuropathy, stroke, and dementia.
– Problems with the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, and atrial fibrillation.
– Liver disease, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
– In people who suffer from hepatitis C, the liver function may be further impaired and it may come to drug interference.
– Other problems with the gastrointestinal tract, such as gastritis and pancreatitis.
– Cancer of the throat, mouth, esophagus, breast, colon, and liver. Generally speaking, with excessive consumption, the cancer risk increases.