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Effects to your Health

Drinking too much alcohol can be far worse than just a nasty hangover, regularly drinking to excess can increase your risk of serious illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and heart disease.

In some cases, harmful drinking can cause obvious problems such as depression or acute pancreatitis, but some of the problems caused by heavy drinking don't show symptoms until it reaches a more serious levels such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cirrhosis and some types of cancer, such as mouth, throat, breast and bowel cancers. This means you can underestimate the levels of damage over drinking could be causing.

Harmful drinking can also damage relationships with your loved ones and friends, as well as problems at work or college.

Women who drink a lot find it more difficult to conceive. A study reported by the British Medical Journal found that as few as five drinks every week may decrease a woman's chance of becoming pregnant. In men, alcohol decreases fertility by its effect on sperm quality and quantity. Men and women trying for a family may want to consider reducing their overall alcohol consumption if you want to conceive, it's probably best to avoid alcohol completely.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol is a poison and can sometimes have lethal consequences. Your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour so drinking a lot in a short space of time can stop the body from working properly and in some cases death.

Here are some of the ways alcohol poisoning can affect your body;

  • brain functions slowing down so you lose your sense of balance.
  • vomiting and your gag reflex could stop working properly - which can lead to choking or inhaling your own vomit into your lungs.
  • nerves that control your breathing and heartbeat can stop working.
  • dehydration which can cause permanent brain damage.
  • body temperature lowers which can lead to hypothermia.
  • blood sugar levels lower so you could suffer seizures.

You should always be alert for signs that somebody has become poisoned from alcohol - please follow this link for what to look out for.

Appearance

Your Weight - Being high in sugar means alcohol is very high in calories, you might think twice about eating a hot dog, then a burger followed by a doughnut but you would consume the same calories by having four pints of Cider. The calories in alcohol are 'empty calories' with no nutritional value and drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns. Some of the worst calorie culprits are beer, lager and cider, some brands contain a whopping 250 calories per pint hence those dreaded beer belly's. If you want to know how many calories you are consuming in your alcoholic drink try this useful calculator.

Your skin - Alcohol dehydrates your body and can deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Drinking heavily can cause permanent detrimental effects on your skin such as Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement.

Aging - Evidence shows that chronic alcohol consumption can cause both accelerated (or premature) aging - in which symptoms of aging appear earlier than normal - and exaggerated aging, in which the symptoms appear at the appropriate time but in a more exaggerated form.

Mental Health

We often drink because we want to change the way we feel. From relaxing to celebrating or to simply forget our day at work. More concerning is that many people drink to try and mask anxiety or depression, or other mental health problems.

While alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on our mood, evidence shows that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental illnesses, such as depression and memory loss to suicide. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, and this can make us less inhibited in our behaviour. It can also help 'numb' our emotions, so we can avoid difficult issues in our lives. Alcohol can also reveal or magnify our underlying feelings. If our underlying feelings are of anxiety, anger or unhappiness, then alcohol can magnify them.

Alcohol and pregnancy

The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women do not drink alcohol at all. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

 

If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.

Fact Zone


Alcohol is actually a depressant. Initially, you may feel more energetic or cheerful because alcohol depresses your inhibitions. However, that means you can also be less able to control your emotions or reactions
Liver disease is the only major cause of mortality and morbidity on the increase in England whilst decreasing in other European countries
The more you drink the more damage your body will sustain and the greater the risks become. Tolerance can actually be seen as a warning sign that your body has started to be affected by alcohol.
Studies have shown that even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of bowel cancer. Studies found that for every two units drunk a day, your risk of bowel cancer goes up by 8%.
Evidence shows that alcoholism or chronic alcohol consumption can cause both premature ageing and exaggerated ageing.

 

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