Health

Alcohol affects more than just your liver

Alcohol affects more than just your liver

Excess drinking can affect your overall health and wellbeing the damage can be devastating

.

The downside of alcohol :

Alcohol is made when yeast is used to ferment carbohydrates, turning the sugars into energy and two waste products; ethanol and carbon dioxide. The fermented product is used in its whole form or distilled to produce spirits. It enters the bloodstream via the stomach and is distributed throughout the body, affecting the brain and other organs.

For chronic condition sufferers, the damage can be devastating.

If you’re diabetic, the high sugar content in drinks can spike your blood sugar levels. For those with liver disorders, heavy drinking can cause liver inflammation. Eventually, alcohol metabolism permanently changes the liver cell structure, damaging the liver’s ability to process fats. Alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure and heart muscle damage, raising the risk of heart failure or stroke. Drinking can damage the stomach lining, causing gastritis and ulcers.

Other dangers include: 

Impaired immune system
Poor nutrition damages the body’s immune system, leaving it susceptible to infections.

Cognitive dysfunction
Alcohol abuse damages the brain and can result in cerebral atrophy (loss of brain cells), neuropathy (nerve diseases), dementia and memory disorders, dysfunctional brain chemistry and poor blood supply to the brain.

Fertility problems
Excess alcohol over years can cause erectile dysfunction, testicular atrophy and impotence. In women, it can interrupt menstruation.

Malnutrition and loss of nutrients
Alcohol leads to the elimination of important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to fight infection and handle stress.

Weight gain
Alcohol is often overlooked as a source of calories (one glass of wine/half a beer = five teaspoons of butter). It’s virtually impossible to try to lose weight while drinking. Alcohol disrupts the body’s balance of nutrients, fluids and hormones – and the vital body functions needed for fat loss. Alcohol blocks the body from burning fat and accessing fat for energy.

Are you drinking too much?  Ask yourself (CAGE questionnaire):

• Do I ever feel a need to Cut down on my drinking?
• Have people Annoyed me by criticising or showing concern about my drinking?
• Do I ever feel Guilty or bad about drinking?
• Do I have to drink Early in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady my nerves?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you should think about cutting down or quitting. Treatment can  include A professional rehabilitation programme, with medical supervision and counselling, can help you tackle alcoholism.

Daily tips for staying healthy and sober:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for support.
  • Eat a range of healthy food and get regular exercise to boost your endorphins.
  • Get enough sleep each night and do your best to manage stress.
  • Avoid people, places and activities that trigger a craving to drink.
  • Your doctor may recommend medication to help you stay sober.
  • Establish clear, realistic goals: decide how much you can drink, and when.
  • Remove alcohol from your home and workspace.
  • Drink slowly; pause between drinks. Drink non-alcoholic liquids and eat while taking in alcohol.

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