Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip.
While an occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits can take its toll.
Its intake is common among adults of all ages, although it’s increasingly common for young people to start drinking very early.
There are plenty of warnings about the negative health effects of alcohol. However, many people still drink too much or too often.
Some may have the ability to control their urge to drink. However, others wind up becoming addicted and dependent on its effects.
The most worrisome thing is that there are strong economic and social interests that prevent alcohol from being appropriately regulated.
Because of this, everyone should be more aware of the consequences of alcohol consumption and choose the amount that is most suitable for their health.
Read on to learn the effects of alcohol on your body.
Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Digestive and endocrine glands
Drinking too much alcohol can cause abnormal activation of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas. Buildup of these enzymes can lead to inflammation known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can become a long-term condition and cause serious complications.
The connection between alcohol consumption and your digestive system might not seem immediately clear. The side effects often only appear after there has been damage. And the more you drink, the greater the damage will become.
Drinking can damage the tissues in your digestive tract and prevent your intestines from digesting food and absorbing nutrients and vitamins. As a result, malnutrition may occur.
Heavy drinking can also lead to:
- a feeling of fullness in your abdomen
- diarrhea or painful stools
- For people who drink heavily, ulcers or hemorrhoids (due to dehydration and constipation) aren’t uncommon. And they may cause dangerous internal bleeding. Ulcers can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early.
Your kidneys are the organ that suffer the most from excessive intake of alcoholic beverages.
Because they become overworked trying to eliminate all those toxins through your urine, you also lose liquids and mineral salts that are essential for hydration.
High levels of toxins and the difficulty your metabolism has at working fast enough to process the alcohol are the two reasons you have headaches after a night of drinking.
It’s common that you will experience an increase in muscular tension and strong pains, like a migraine, hours after ingesting alcohol.
The liver is an organ which helps break down and remove harmful substances from your body, including alcohol. Long-term alcohol use interferes with this process. It also increases your risk for chronic liver inflammation and liver disease. The scarring caused by this inflammation is known as cirrhosis. The formation of scar tissue destroys the liver. As the liver becomes increasingly damaged, it has a harder time removing toxic substances from your body.
Central nervous system
One of the easiest ways to understand alcohol’s impact on your body is by understanding how it affects your central nervous system. Slurred speech is one of the first signs you’ve had too much to drink. Alcohol can reduce communication between your brain and your body. This makes coordination more difficult. You may have a hard time balancing. You should never drive after drinking.
As alcohol causes more damage to your central nervous system, you may experience numbness and tingling sensations in your feet and hands.
Drinking also makes it difficult for your brain to create long-term memories. It also reduces your ability to think clearly and make rational choices. Over time, frontal lobe damage can occur. This area of the brain is responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, and judgement, in addition to other vital roles.
Chronic and severe alcohol abuse can also cause permanent brain damage. This can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that affects memory.
Problems with clear vision are among the most common effects experienced by those who don’t moderate their consumption of alcohol.
Toxins that travel through the blood reduce your vision and cause it to become blurry.
This reaction is very dangerous, not just because it can negatively impact your vision in the long term, but because it causes an increase in the number of accidents.
Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.