The alcohol effects that has on our society is just too staggering for words, and you know what else - you don't even need to drink a drop of the stuff to see the damage done. Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Some people simply love the watery stuff and can't seem to get enough. Others can't drink the stuff because it merely makes them sick.
A guy goes to the bar and drinks a dozen beers. Do you think that perhaps he's thirsty or does he just want to get pissed? He hasn't even touched the hard stuff yet. But what will happen to his body after a lifetime of binge drinking? Could this be the beginnings of alcoholism or what? And they say that cigarette smoking is bad for you. Cigarette smokers may have a different set of health problems and issues, but the effects of alcohol must surely sit on a much higher plane.
While on the subject of cigarettes, if you are a smoker and would like to get rid of all those harmful free radicals that are causing the problem, this smoking help guide could be the lifeline you were seeking. There are some healthy food tips here you can take that will significantly reduce your chance of getting cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Alcohol causes a whole host of problems and not only for the people doing the drinking. Think about what happens to the entire body. Drinkers could easily suffer all kinds of alcohol-related health problems. Then there are behavioural problems such as aggression, mood issues such as anxiety, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, psychological problems such as delirium and the worst-case scenario, physical substance dependence which could lead to an early death.
Now, isn't it bizarre that there are no health warnings on alcohol or meat products whatsoever, but on tobacco products, there are dozens of signals telling us that cigarettes are dangerous for our health? You only have to pick up a packet of ciggies to find big, bold labels telling us (among others) that smoking will damage not only our lungs but a whole host of other life-threatening illnesses.
One says that a morning cough and shortness of breath are sure signs of lung disease. Did you know that smoking has never been scientifically proven to cause cancer, and yet some people die of lung cancer and have never smoked cigarettes in their entire life?
Another one says that tobacco is addictive and that the nicotine in tobacco is a drug which acts on the brain and nervous system. Most smokers are dependent on nicotine and that they get cravings when they go without smoking for a while. And the list of warnings continue.
Speaking of drugs therein lies yet another problem. It's okay for doctors to prescribe "drugs" for even the slightest ailment and the pharmacist to hand them out freely. We trust their judgment, don't we? We don't expect these authority figures to lie to us, do we? After all, they went to university to study these essential things, and therefore they should know what they are talking about, shouldn't they?
Now we all know that sugar is bad for you because "they" keep telling us that. Don't consume sugar because your teeth will rot, and you will get fat and end up with diabetes. Yes, we all know that there are unhealthy foods and other things we should not consume and that if we do, we'll die sooner rather than later. But what if I tell you that alcohol causes more premature deaths than smoking.
You just have to look at the statistics to see the harm alcohol causes worldwide and not only for the person drinking the stuff but also the chaos that is associated with it. Road deaths and rogue behaviour in the household are also hugely attributed to the over-consumption of alcohol. Before I talk about the dangers of red meat, let me tell you that drinking too much alcohol can have a long-term effect on various parts of your body. Here's what alcohol does to your system.
Alcohol Effects on the Bladder and Kidneys
Excessive excretion of fluid can lead to an electrolyte imbalance as well as dehydration, loss of bladder control and frequent bladder and kidney infections which can lead to chronic kidney damage. How many of you knew that? Okay, next
Alcohol Effects on your Brain and Nervous System
Frequent bouts of temporary amnesia can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), a memory-impairing disorder that affects speech and vision and can lead to seizures. WKS can also prevent you from forming new memories. Excessive drinking of alcohol also releases endorphins, typically liberated during or after exercise or sexual activity. When too much is released, it can cause depression, a lower sex drive, low testosterone, infertility and fatigue.
Too much alcohol also releases excess gamma-aminobutyric acid (Gaba) as well as dopamine. Gaba is responsible for calming the brain while dopamine controls the brain's pleasure centre. Too much of both can lead to shortness of breath, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, night terrors, delusions, hallucinations, spasms and increased levels of aggression and depression. Makes you think even more about how dangerous alcohol is to your system.
Alcohol Effects on your Liver
Extreme drinking causes the liver to store fat which could lead to fatty liver disease. Alcoholic hepatitis, when the liver becomes inflamed, could follow along with type 2 diabetes. Cirrhosis, which causes catastrophic damage to the liver cells, is a long-term danger that could lead to liver failure and ultimately, death.
Alcohol Effects on your Stomach
Alcohol makes your stomach produce more acid than usual, which can lead to gastritis or inflammation of the stomach lining. Bleeding ulcers and tears in the stomach lining can follow, which might need surgery to repair.
Alcohol Effects on your Heart
Many complications arise, including cardiomyopathy (when the heart muscle stretches and droops), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). High blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Alcohol Effects on your Pancreas
Excessive drinking damages the organ's ability to produce insulin, which results in diabetes. Too much alcohol could also cause pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas and can lead to pancreatic cancer.
Alcohol Effects on your Skin
Alcohol breaks down collagen, which is what gives your skin its elasticity and can cause premature ageing. It also breaks down surface blood vessels giving your skin a permanent flush. Alcohol dilates pores, causing blackheads and whiteheads that can become inflamed and lead to cystic acne. Permanent scarring can result from this. Liver damage causes the skin to turn yellow.
Alcohol Effects on your Bones
Alcohol is diuretic, so it flushes calcium from bones, making them brittle. Weak bones increase your risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Do I need to say any more? Read on if you dare.
Should you drink more than 350 grammes or 43.75 units of alcohol a week, you'd effectively be shaving years off your life. There's a myth that drinking in moderation is beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Studies from 19 countries involving nearly 600,000 have concluded that you'll live four to five years less by the age of forty if you drink on average 25 bottles of beer (330 ml each) or 18 glasses of wine (175 millilitres each) a week. That applies to both men and women who are equally at a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death. This is scary stuff, but there are ways to enjoy a drink without going into the danger zone.
Choose what you enjoy but strict to the recommended amount. Red wine contains antioxidants that protect the heart, and it also contains less sugar than sweeter varieties of white wine and other alcoholic drinks.
Light beer, wine and cider are healthier than their regular counterparts as they contain less alcohol and have lower sugar content. If you prefer hard-tack such as whiskey and vodka, you shouldn't exceed 12 shots of 25 millilitres each week. And mix them with sugar-free mixers or soda water to keep down the sugar content.
Another way to protect your health is to have a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage, which will keep you hydrated and lower the speed at which you drink. There are also many alcohol and sugar-free drinks on the market that mimic the taste of the real thing.
A virgin gin and tonic might not give you the buzz of the hard stuff, but it's a good alternative once you've reached your weekly limit. And best of all, you could live a little longer.
Alcohol reduces your driving ability
Alcohol is addictive
Alcohol increases your risk of personal injuries
Alcohol is a significant cause of violence and crime
Alcohol is dangerous to your health
Drinking while walking on the road can kill you
These should be sobering warnings featured on the labels of alcohol products.
Regulators should prohibit manufacturers from printing health benefits (if there are any) on their products as well as the words such as "health" "healthy" "heal" or "cure" on the labels.
If this doesn't work, there should be jail times or hefty fines and not merely a slap on the wrist like they do in Thailand.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for a general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.