Thirsty Thursday: How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Everything is good in moderation. This is especially true pertaining to alcohol. College students are the elephant in the room alcohol abusers. In 2015, around 40 percent of students enrolled in college were binge drinking within the last month. Another study found that 50 percent of students had binge drinking tendencies. Females in college have about four drinks a week while males are drinking around nine drinks a week – more than double that of a female.

The college culture to drink past normal limits has kept its popularity. From bar specials that drive college students two, three or four times a week to drinking with Greek life or in apartment parties that do not portion correctly, which can lead to over consumption. Alcohol can have serious affects on the body, so it is important to inform yourself and others before turning to alcohol.

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The Recommendations:

The government classifies moderate drinking as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. The amount of alcohol and how it affects a person’s body through BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is dependent on race, sex, age, physical fitness, family history and more.

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The Affects and Consequences:

There are numerous affects that are all over the web; however, Healthline has a concise list and helpful diagram that you should check out!

Digestive system:

Alcohol can destroy tissues within the the intestines. This can lead to lack of digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Alcohol can also give stomach ulcers and hemorrhoids, which can lead to internal bleeding. You can also be at greater risk for cancer and pancreatitis.

Ulcers – Painful sores in the stomach lining and small intestine.

Hemorrhoids – Swollen veins in the lower rectum.

Pancreatitis – Inflammation in the pancreas due to a digestive enzyme attack.

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Liver:

This is one of the most known results of alcohol consumption: liver damage. The liver’s functions are to rid the body of toxins and waste. Without the health of a liver, the body is unable to filter, and this causes build-up that can be life-threatening.

Women are more at risk than men to develop alcoholic liver disease and liver damage.

Pancreas:

The importance of the pancreas is to regulate sugar levels through your body’s insulin and glucose. Alcohol can damage the functionality of your pancreas. The mix of this with your livers can lead to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar.

Hyperglycemia– High blood sugar.

Central Nervous System:

Another known affect of alcohol is the damage to the central nervous system. These are the signs you see when someone has been drinking: slurred words, impaired vision, lack of ability to make conscious decisions, coordination, etc.

Continued use of alcohol over time can cause disabilities to long term memory, thinking and rational decision making. Alcohol abuse can lead to Wernicke-Korsaoff syndrome.

Wernicke-Korsaoff syndrome – A brain disorder due to the lack of vitamin B.

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Circulatory System:

Alcohol damages your heart and lungs. This leads to multiple problems in itself. Problems include:

High blood pressure – “Blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is too high.”

Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) – Heartbeat, rhythm of blood flow, is irregular. “Skipping a beat.”

Difficulty pumping blood through the body

Stroke – Blood flow to the brain is cut off.

Heart attack – Oxygen-rich blood gets blocked from entering the heart.

Heart disease – An artery is preventing oxygen-rich blood from entering the heart.

Women who drink are also more likely than men to develop heart disease.

Heart failure – Muscles in the heart wall are weakened, which prevents proper blood pumping functions.

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Immune System:

The immune system helps fight off bacteria and viruses that make you sick. With alcohol, the immune system is weakened, which can lead to a high risk of getting sick with pneumonia or tuberculosis.

Pneumonia – Lung infection that causes a build up of fluid and pus.

Tuberculosis – Contagious infection in the lungs that can spread to various parts of the body.

Skeletal and Muscular System:

Alcohol doesn’t stop there! It also has the ability to weaken bones and muscles. Weak bones are more likely to get fractures, and weak muscles are more likely to cramp or atrophy.

Atrophy – Muscles “waste away.”

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Tips:

Educate yourself:

This is the most important thing. Educate yourself on what alcohol can do to you and what the guidelines for drinking are. Know what situation you are getting yourself into to ensure a healthy relationship with your body and alcohol.

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Analyze your habits:

When do you usually drink? Is it after a hard day or to celebrate? Do you drink too much during any specific time? Once you start to pick up on your habits, it is easier to identify and control yourself.

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Go for beer:

If you are dying to go out multiple times during the week because you are in college, try drinking beer. It can help you feel full, which could stop excess drinking. It is also more controllable in the sense of knowing how much you’ve had and how it is affecting your blood.

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Shout out to Health Line for the great information.

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