Alcohol Effects On The Body Analysis

Alcohol Effects On The Body



Consuming alcohol has both a negative and positive effect on the body.  Most people when they think of drinking alcohol, only think of the bad things it does to one’s body.  But alcohol isn’t always bad for a person.  It does have some positive effects.


The Old and the New Testament mention the benefits of drinking 191 times.  At the turn of the century, there was evidence that a moderate intake of alcohol was associated with a decrease in heart disease.  It has been proven from 1900-1986 that moderate drinking showed a reduction in cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease.  This is very important because heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.  Heart disease kills about one million Americans each and every year.  This came from the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease, progressive and often fatal; it is a primary disorder and not a symptom of other diseases or emotional problems. The chemistry of alcohol allows it to affect nearly every type of cell in the body, including those in the central nervous system. In the brain, alcohol interacts with centers responsible for pleasure and other desirable sensations. After prolonged exposure to alcohol, the brain adapts to the changes alcohol makes and becomes dependent on it. For people with alcoholism, drinking becomes the primary medium through which they can deal with people, work, and life. Alcohol dominates their thinking, emotions, and actions. The severity of this disease is influenced by factors such as genetics, psychology, culture, and response to physical pain.

Moderate drinkers live longer than those you totally abstain from drinking and those who drink heavily.  A Harvard study found the risk of death from all causes to 21-28% lower among men who drank alcohol in moderation as compared to those who did not drink any alcohol.  Moderation would be described as one to three drinks per day.  Four to five drinks per day can cause long term health issues.  There really can be too much of a good thing!

Long term health problems include brain and nervous system disorder.  It can cause problems with the digestive and the urinary systems.   Large doses of alcohol can trigger irregular heartbeats and raise blood pressure even in people with no history of heart disease.   Alcohol can cause diarrhea and hemorrhoids. Alcohol can also contribute to serious infections of the pancreas and to ulcers in people taking the painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Alcohol is also the number one contributor to liver and kidney disease.  Alcohol is a party substance.  It acts as a depressant.  Drinking could prove to be fatal in some people.  It is estimated that 6.9 million U.S. High School students can walk in a store and buy their own alcohol.  In the year 2,000, 16,653 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol.

Alcohol plays a major role in more than half of all automobile fatalities. Less than two drinks can impair the ability to drive. Alcohol also increases the risk of accidental injuries from many other causes. One study of emergency room patients found that having had more than one drink doubled the risk of injury, and more than four drinks increased the risk eleven times. Another study reported that among emergency room patients who were admitted for injuries, 47% tested positive for alcohol and 35% were intoxicated. Of those who were intoxicated, 75% showed evidence of chronic alcoholism. This disease is the primary diagnosis in one-quarter of all people who commit suicide, and alcohol is implicated in 67% of all murders.

Some of the short term effects of alcohol abuse are tunnel vision, the inability to do multiple tasks while operating a motor vehicle, the impaired judgment of road distances, and temporary amnesia.

Alcohol and liver disease is one of the major causes of illness and death in the United States.  The most common type of Liver disease is a fatty liver.  It is reversible as long as the person can abstain from using alcohol.  The more fatal liver disease is called Alcoholic Hepatitis.  It is the persistent inflammation of the liver.  Another very serious liver disease is Cirrhosis, which is the permanent scarring of the liver.  Approximately 10-35% of heavy drinkers, which means, someone who drinks at least 4-5 drinks every day for 10 years, will develop Alcoholic Hepatitis;  10-20% will develop Cirrhosis.  Cirrhosis is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.  This disease kills about 25,000 people every year.


Alcohol can also have major effects on other parts of the human body as well.  Severe alcoholism is associated with osteoporosis, wasting away of muscles with swelling and pain, skin sores, and itching. In addition, alcohol-dependent women seem to face an increased risk for damage to muscles, including muscles of the heart, from the toxic effects of alcohol.  Alcoholism increases levels of the female hormone estrogen and reduces levels of the male hormone testosterone, factors that contribute to impotence in men.  One study indicated that intensive care patients with a history of alcohol abuse have a significantly higher risk for developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) during hospitalization. ARDS is a form of lung failure that can be fatal. It is can be caused by many of the medical conditions common in chronic alcoholism, including severe infection, trauma, blood transfusions, pneumonia, and other serious lung conditions.

As you can see, alcohol might be positive for some people, but in this situation, the bad outweighs the good a whole lot.  Alcohol is not always bad, as long as you drink in moderation.



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