Alcohol does more than just get you drunk by messing with your brain. Drinking has many other effects, both good and bad, on your body. For this post, I’m going to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly outcomes of drinking.
As many of you already know, and may use as an argument to your advantage every now and then, consuming moderate amounts of alcohol has health benefits. Moderate consumption of alcohol can actually help prevent both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, over 100 studies have been done that show an inverse relationship between moderate drinking and heart-related diseases. Consuming some alcohol is good for your heart. Though there is no perfect, agreed upon standard definition, “moderate drinking” typically refers to less than one drink per day on average. Consuming more than three or four drinks is where alcohol begins to do more bad than good.
Alcohol can and will make you fat if you drink too much. We’ve all heard the term “beer belly.This is often an accurate description of what can happen to your stomach if you drink excessively. The diagram on the right provides some insight into how many calories drinks contain. Essentially, many drinks have just as many calories as deserts. Assume the average drink contains about 150 calories. Now, if you average only one drink per day, the yearly caloric content in the alcohol you consume equates to about a 15-pound weight gain (55,000 calories). More than just your own personal weight can be affected though. A study done at the Washington University School of Medicine concluded that people who had a family history of alcoholism were at a greater risk of developing problems with obesity. Excessive drinking can impact both you and your potential offspring. Even if you aren’t concerned about your physical appearance, there are internal problems caused by drinking that are far worse.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a lot of health problems; however, for this post, I want to focus how it impacts the liver. You probably already know that alcohol is bad for your liver. But what does your liver do and why does alcohol inhibit its functioning? The liver is a large, football-sized filter inside your body. It’s main purpose is to detoxify the blood that goes through it. It cleans your blood. Additionally, your liver stores vitamins and minerals while also transforming sugars and proteins into substances that your body can use. Referred to as cirrhosis in its most extreme state, excessive drinking causes the liver to become inflamed. While this doesn’t happen to all heavy drinkers, the side-effects are serious. Early on, individuals can experience fatigue and appetite loss. As the condition worsens, abdominal pain and vomiting will often occur. There is no way for someone to feel that there liver is suffering. Only the side effects can be felt by people. At its worse, cirrhosis can lead to liver failure which will most likely result in death.
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*Source for Featured Image on Cover