Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why is alcohol bad for you?

I always wonder how much I am harming my body, with every sip I take. There are certain studies that say moderate alcohol drinking is good for health. But what are the negative effects of drinking alcohol? Does it cause long-term diseases or problems in sexual life? Lets have a look.
Time and again, there have been numerous studies stating the ill-effects of alcohol on health, but people still tend to consume it. Apart from this, drinking alcohol also affects your social life and behaviour. A glass of alcohol causes significant changes in the body, which most of us are unaware of. Here are some clinical and social complications due to alcohol consumption.
Health risks due to alcohol consumption
There is no doubt that drinking alcohol causes major health problems and increases the risk of various diseases.
Problems with liver: When you drink alcohol, the liver gets diverted from its other functions and focuses mainly on converting alcohol to a less toxic form. Absorption of alcohol by the liver causes fatty liver disease, inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis.
Disturbance in sleep pattern: Most people drink alcohol to fall asleep. However, research studies suggest that drinking before sleep interferes with the body’s ability to regulate sleep naturally (sleep homeostasis). If you continue doing so, over time the quality of sleep is diminished and it might lead to insomnia.
Affects sexual life: Long-term consumption of alcohol might affect your sexual health. Alcohol not only inhibits parts of the nervous system that play a key role in sexual arousal but also inhibits the flow of blood to the genitals. 
Interference with calcium absorption: As liver function is impaired inalcoholics, the synthesis of vitamin D in the body is also affected. Apart from this, the absorption of calcium by the body is affected. In the long run, this might result in osteoporosis as oestrogen and testosterone levels also affected due to excessive alcohol consumption.
Increased risk of lung ailments: Excess consumption of alcohol is known to cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening lung disease. It causes buildup of fluid inside the air sacs, thereby preventing oxygen from passing into the bloodstream. The condition worsens as you drink, which may lead to long-term lung complications.
Impaired kidney function: The electrolyte balance of the body and hormones that influence the kidney function are disturbed due to excess consumption of alcohol. The long term effects of alcohol on kidney include increased risk of suffering from kidney failure and kidney stones.
Increases risk of cancer: Excessive drinking of alcohol increases the risk of various types of cancers, mouth, liver, oesophagus and breast. This is because, the body converts alcohol into a potent carcinogen, acetaldehyde, thereby increasing the risk of cancer in alcoholics.
Causes mental health issues: It is a known fact that heavy drinking leads to various mental health issues such as depression and dementia. Excess consumption of alcohol speeds up the shrinkage of the brain (which usually occurs as you age) and interferes with your brain’s ability to distinguish between judgments, solve problems and plan things.
High risk of birth defects (in pregnant women): Pregnant women who do binge drinking face a risk of birth defects known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) that leads to growth retardation, head and face abnormalities and neurological problems Apart from this, alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage.
Makes you fat: Have you ever thought the booze might cause you to gain weight, along with interfering in your weight loss goals. Alcohol has more calories than you think, it stimulates your appetite, triggers greater craving for calorie-rich foods the next day and stops using carbohydrates as an energy source.
Social ill-effects of drinking alcohol
A glass or two of alcohol is a sign of celebration and common at social gatherings and parties. However, alcohol consumption is found to interfere with your social and personal lives. This includes affecting your mental health, increasing your risk of injuries and being sexually abused.
Causes drastic mood swings: We all know that excessive consumption of alcohol affects the brain and parts of the nervous system that control your behaviour. This causes erratic mood swings such as happiness, sadness or anger, which might lead to severe consequences, such as trashing someone, arguing with people (even if you are wrong) and many more problems in day-to-day life.
Associated with domestic violence: In India, cases of drunk people beating their partners and children, abusing parents and creating ruckus in the society is quite common. This is because, as you get drunk, the ability to distinguish between good and bad is lost, you get into a state of unconsciousness.
Might lead to accidents: Although, we might find placards of ‘don’t drink and drive’ or ‘drive safely’ on roads, there has been an increase in the number of road accidents caused due to alcohol drinking. You might escape with a small injury or live with a disability for the rest of your life; chances of sudden death are not bleak!

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