Alcohol and Your Health: The Path Through Your Body
Whether out to dinner or just popping over to a friend’s house, alcohol is everywhere. Though some alcohol, like red wine, has been found to have certain health benefits, regularly tying one on can lead to disastrous results for your health and well-being. From damage to your vital organs to the possibility of a DUI, being aware of your personal alcohol intake can be one of the most important things you can do for your body and your safety.
Booze & Your Body
While many people understand that the overuse of alcohol is dangerous, not many people understand why or what particular organs are damaged or effected. The simple fact is that overindulging with alcohol, either just one time or on a regular basis, can have serious and lasting adverse health effects.
Think of your brain as a series of telephone wires which the brain then uses to communicate or send signals to other parts of your body. Drinking can seriously impede these lines of communication, resulting in less control of your basic motor skills. Thought processing times also drop, as does your ability to make good judgement calls. It’s alcohol’s effect on the brain that results in drunk driving and DUI’s, as the driver is unable to process information as quickly as someone who isn’t drinking.
Your liver is pretty much in charge when it comes to dealing with the alcohol you consume. As it’s your liver’s responsibility to mop up most of the damaging effects alcohol can have, it suffers a lot more than most of your other organs. Regular alcohol use can result in life-threatening illness such as cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis and steatosis (fatty liver).
This may come as a surprise to most people, but alcohol can be extremely damaging to your heart and cardiovascular systems. While some studies have shown that moderate use in healthy adults can actually have positive affects on the heart, excessive use can result in a whole host of health problems. Both high blood pressure and strokes can be linked to overuse of alcohol, as can high mortality rate diseases such as cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias.
Though you may be under the impression that the worst you can get from a heavy drinking session is a hangover, alcohol can actually impede your body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses. In fact, your body’s immune system can be compromised for up to 24 hours after drinking. Chronic drinkers, unsurprisingly, suffer a worse fate and are more likely to contract serious illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Drinking & Your Safety
It’s obvious that engaging in regular and prolonged drinking can result in fairly serious consequences for your health. However, drinking can also impact your safety as well. Lack of motor skills or coordination while drinking can result in trips and falls, many times requiring a visit to the emergency room.
DUI’s and drunk driving accidents are also a sad fact of life for the regular drinker. As your ability to make judgements on distance and reaction times are slower, driving after drinking can put both you and other drivers at risk of a crash. There are also the additional social stigmas and legal problems that can come from being convicted of a DUI, which can impact your life for years to follow.
Though going out and having a few drinks with your friends or family can seem like fun, it’s important to realize the extent of your drinking and the possible effects it can have on your life and health. If you feel that you are drinking too much, then chances are you probably are. Talk about your drinking with your health professional if you are concerned, and learn more with groups like Alcoholic’s Anonymous. The life you save could be your own.
Writer Melanie Fleury has often taken on the role of designated driver and has watched friends become physically ill from drinking. She hopes that by reading this article, those that are not dissuaded by the short term hangover or chance of DUI, will be dissuaded by the long term health effects. She used the website of http://jackdiamondlaw.com/ to learn about the consequences, legally and physically, of drinking.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagensevangelicas/6340176887/