It’s been baptized and nicknamed all sorts of names. From moonshine to booze, tummy buster, hooch, and oh, a cold one! But one name that will still stand the tests of time is alcohol. Whatever name you give it, the meaning will still be the same.
While we can blame genetics, lack of supervision, peer pressure, and stress factors, alcohol consumption remains to be a relatively personal decision. Some will find it a good relaxant while others, due to their strong moral codes and opinions, will dislike it and anyone else who consumes it.
Some people will choose to take alcohol in moderation, but then some overindulge and they’ll let you know from how they behave. One thing to note, however, is that even the smallest drops of alcohol can at a molecular level affect your body system.
Now, the effects of alcohol will depend on various factors that include the quantity of alcohol consumed, the speed of consumption, body size, medications, existing medical conditions, and stomach contents to mention but a few.
Drinking too much alcohol can have both mild, short term, and long term effects on your overall well being. These effects may be felt in your finances, relationships, work, social connections, and your mental health. In this piece, we’ll categorize these effects from the most significant ones to the least.
Without further ado, below are some effects drinking alcohol can have on your body.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on Your Body
Understanding the effects of alcohol earlier on in life is a crucial element that will provide you with insights on how to better take care of yourself while shielding you from the potential consequences of consuming alcohol. Below are the long term effects associated with alcohol. They include:
1. Lowered Immune System
Your immune system is responsible for fighting off viruses, bacteria, and other germs that cause diseases. It helps defend the body against foreign bodies that can cause damage or illnesses. The success of a healthy immune system is determined by its ability to discriminate between host and foreign cells. A lowered immune system puts you at a greater risk of catching various diseases. In addition to this, it also increases your chance of contracting parasites. According to Dr. Todd Watts, the cofounder of Microbe Formulas, internal parasites can wreak serious havoc to your health, opening other gateways for some very serious health issues. Unfortunately, Parasites exist almost anywhere and everywhere, including on the surfaces you come into contact every day, in the water you drink, the foods you eat, and on the pets, you love so much. It’s therefore important to ensure that your immune system is in check and one of the best ways to do so is to cut back on alcohol consumption.
2. Alcohol Affects the Digestive System
Excessive use of alcohol can damage the interior lining of the stomach, leading to increased production of stomach acid. Some of the most serious effects of alcohol originate from the digestive system. Damages to the interior lining of the stomach can make it hard for healthy gut bacteria or microbiota to thrive in your intestines, altering the proper absorption and breakdown of nutrients. Especially when consumed in larger amounts, alcohol increases oxidative stress, which affects and upsets the microbial balance in your gut. This only leads to the proliferation of the bad bacteria while killing the good gut bacteria that are vital to your overall well being. Cutting back on booze can be an effective way to improve your gut health.
3. Affects Skeletal and Supportive Tissues
Excessive alcohol consumption affects new bone and cartilage production. These are the crucial elements for support. When this happens, it puts you at a greater risk of contracting osteoporosis and developing frequent fractures. In addition to this, alcohol consumption can weaken your muscles, making it easier to develop muscle atrophy and cramps.
4. Alcohol Affects the Reproductive System
In women, (excessive) alcohol can increase the risks of breast cancer, affecting the menstrual cycle, and ultimately causing infertility. On the other hand, the most common side effect of alcohol abuse on men’s reproductive health is erectile dysfunction, a condition that is categorized by the inability to sustain an erection during intercourse. It’s also commonly known as impotence. While it can be an overwhelming and devastating condition to a man, it’s an equally frustrating one for his partner. Alcohol also inhibits the production of hormones necessary for proper growth and development. While taking medication can help with some reproductive issues, cutting back on alcohol can help in reversing some of these effects.
5. Alcohol Increases the Risk of Heart Problems
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Drinking alcohol increases your risk of contracting heart problems. These problems include developing an irregular heartbeat, blood pressure, poisoning of the heart muscles, and heart attack. Heavy drinkers are more prone to contracting health problems than non-drinkers, but women who take alcohol are at an even higher risk to some of the aforementioned heart problems.
Short Term Effect of Alcohol on Your Body
Although you may not be abusing alcohol on a regular basis, you can still experience some short term effects on your body. And while the liver can metabolize a certain quantity of alcohol, consuming more than the recommended amount can increase the chances of intoxication. The effects of alcohol can vary depending on the amount of alcohol consumed with effects ranging from mild to severe symptoms. These may include:
- Poor judgment and lowered inhibitions
- Poor coordination
- Mood swings
- Increases blood pressure
- Poor concentration
- Passing out
The Other Consequences of Alcohol Abuse
As established in the pointers above, alcohol abuse can cause both physical and psychological effects. The above health problems along with the many poor decisions a person makes while intoxicated can contribute to other devastating problems that are not necessarily health-related. These are problems that can impact an individual’s life. They include:
- Financial problems
- Domestic abuse
- Inability to maintain work
- Broken families
- Lack of focus in life
Now, as you can see, there are more than a handful of damages caused by alcohol. These are the long term and short term effects of alcohol consumption and abuse. If you or your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to seek help while it’s still early and before such problems become unmanageable.