Why is drinking alcohol bad for health? Which organs are damaged by alcohol?
Find out how alcohol affects your body and why you should limit its consumption.
Ethanol is a chemical that is very commonly consumed by people. Beer, wine or other stronger alcoholic beverages contain ethanol. It is quickly absorbed from the digestive tract, reaching the maximum concentration in the blood after 0.5 to 3 hours after consumption.
It is classified as a psychoactive substance because it affects the central nervous system. It changes the mood and behavior and slows the reaction time, that’s why it is forbidden to drive or operate machinery after drinking.
Alcohol is a dangerous substance, it can cause consciousness disturbances, and in large quantities (150-250 g) even death.
Ethyl alcohol is a poison, and there is no safe amount of alcohol. Even small doses can cause pathological alcohol intoxication.
Drinking ethanol every day in large quantities is the most harmful and can seriously damage many organs. Also, consuming a single high dose of alcohol can be dangerous to health. Of course, drinking a glass of wine or beer from time to time is not dangerous for health. However, it is worth knowing what the risk of alcohol abuse.
The alcoholic liver disease is a very big problem in developed countries. The liver is the organ most often damaged by alcohol. A dose of 12-24 g of alcohol per day increases the risk of cirrhosis in women. This amount of alcohol can be found in one beer!
In men, the dangerous amount is about 25 g ethanol per day (1.5 large beers). Initially, liver damage can be reversible, but unfortunately, in the case of continued drinking, irreversible changes occur.
Symptoms can be discreet in the first stages of the disease. Some of them:
You can check our previous article on how to take care of your liver here.
Alcohol abuse is one of the main causes of both chronic and acute pancreatitis. These diseases involve the destruction of a very important organ and are sometimes fatal.
The pancreas is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels through the production of appropriate hormones (insulin and glucagon). Therefore, its damage can cause diabetes. The pancreas also plays a role in the digestion of foods and securing digestive enzymes.
The occurrence of esophageal varices in people who abuse alcohol is associated with cirrhosis. Damage to the structure of the liver makes it difficult for blood to flow, so it finds a different path – through the venous vessels of the esophagus.
The expanded veins may break and cause life-threatening hemorrhage. Such bleeding is manifested by vomiting with blood and blood clots and requires immediate medical attention.
Beriberi is a disease in which the body does not have enough thiamine (vitamin B1). Chronic consumption of ethyl alcohol reduces the absorption of thiamine from the digestive tract. Therefore, alcoholism is currently the most frequent cause of this disorder. It is manifested by paralysis, nerve damage, edema and damage to the heart.
Alcohol also harms health through vitamins shortages related to its abuse. The vitamins that may be missing from your body include:
Consumption of alcohol may cause damage to the central nervous system.
This is because ethanol damages nerve cells. There may be personality changes, problems with memory, orientation and difficulties with abstract thinking.
The negative effect of alcohol on the brain is also caused by a deficiency of nutrients and vitamins and damage to other organs, such as the liver. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of a stroke.
Due to the damage that alcohol can cause to the liver and deficiency of vitamins, people who drink large amounts of alcohol are more likely to get ill.
The immune system is unable to cope with infections. Also, damage to the liver negatively affects the body’s immunity. That’s why alcoholics more often they struggle with pneumonia or tuberculosis.
Another disease caused by alcohol abuse is cardiomyopathy.
This is most likely the result of ethanol toxicity, genetic factors, and viral infections. The initial stages are fully curable but only if you stop consuming ethanol immediately. Otherwise, cardiomyopathy may cause permanent damage to the myocardium.
Alcohol can be more dangerous than you think. Damage to the liver or heart can be stopped if you stop drinking, but alcohol also gives you cancer. Sadly, when you get cancer, it’s already too late to stop drinking.
People who drink alcohol often and in excessive amounts are exposed to the occurrence of:
Alcohol consumption has a negative effect on fertility in both women and men. Therefore, if you are planning a baby in the future, remember to limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Also, encourage your partner to stop drinking.
Pregnant women should not drink alcohol under any circumstances. Any amount of alcohol consumed by a pregnant woman can harm your baby. Drinking ethanol causes the onset of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), damage to the nervous system and inhibits normal growth of the child. It also increases the risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery.