We all know alcohol is bad for us. We all probably know that it has an impact on our liver. But how many of us actually knows what alcohol does to the body?
Yes, a wee dram of whisky will make us feel fuzzy inside, while one too many beers will give you a bit of a sore head in the morning. Ultimately, these are relatively short term effects and the vast majority of us don’t necessarily worry about a hangover.
However, it does all add up and alongside the more traditional noticeable effects such as head pain, impulsive behavior, loss of coordination and the many other symptoms we see while consuming alcohol, as well as the weight gain, lack of libido and struggle with sleep noticeable over a longer period, there are some hidden impacts many of us don’t realize.
Of course, for those suffering from addiction, rehabilitation is an important pathway to try and limit the damage being done to the body from alcohol, but what exactly is it doing?
Impact of Drinking Alcohol
Inflammation of the Pancreas
What goes on inside our bodies we don’t see, and the effect alcohol has can sometimes not be noticed until it’s too late. Over longer periods of time, drinking too much alcohol can cause pancreatitis. This can cause serious abdominal pain as it will release pancreatic digestive enzymes and it can become a long term condition that will lead to regular and significant pain in the region.
How Alcohol impacts Liver Inflammation
Liver disease is of course one of the most well-known ways in which alcohol can damage the body and interferes with how the liver operates. The liver is designed to break down toxins and remove any substances from the system that could be damaging. Over a long period of alcohol abuse, the alcohol can interfere with the liver’s work and cause problems.
These problems can be life threatening with alcohol-related liver disease leading to toxins and waste building up in the body, that it simply cannot cope with.
Alongside this, inflammation of the liver can cause cirrhosis and scarring of the tissue which, again, can cause permanent damage.
Central Nervous System Damage
Unfortunately, alcohol and the excessive consumption of it can have a real impact on your brain too and it can impact that communication between your brain and body. This can all have an impact on things such as speech, balance, reactions, as well as cause a tingling and numbness in feet and hands.
It can also be a driving factor in the inability to make memories, as well as be damaging to things such as rational thought, emotions and the ability to think clearly.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a brain disorder that also has connections with alcohol and can be one of the more serious results of excessive consumption of alcohol.
Among the most serious of consequences to excessive drinking over time is also the effect it has on the old ticker. We perhaps know that it can lead to high blood pressure already, but it can also lead to difficulty in absorbing vitamins and minerals from food, leading to anemia, while circulatory issues can also lead to an irregular heartbeat, strokes, and other life-threatening scenarios like a heart attack and heart failure.
Ultimately, it doesn’t stop there. Long term alcohol usage can cause skeletal and muscle problems, heighten the risk of infertility and lower your immune system, increasing the risk of picking up viruses as well as increasing the chances of developing cancer.
While, these are all circumstances and problems that can develop with more excessive and frequent alcohol intakes, understanding the risks that come with alcohol is incredibly important, as ultimately your life has a knock on effect to others, such as loved ones and friends, too.
by Kris Collins