Although the majority of us are aware of the negative effects and consequences of alcohol use, the body’s metabolic process is frequently disregarded.
Depending on how much you drink, alcohol can have various effects on your body. Generally speaking, experts agree that having up to one drink per day for women and two for men is acceptable. Overdoing it increases your likelihood of experiencing immediate risks like car accidents and falls.
Long-term excessive drinking can cause serious health issues like heart disease and liver damage. Your best option is to consume alcohol in moderation. Here’s a look at the effects of alcohol on your organs and how your body metabolises it.
Effects of Alcohol on different body organs:
Alcohol is metabolised by the liver using an enzyme group known as alcohol dehydrogenases. The bloodstream is exposed to the toxin acetaldehyde when these enzymes degrade alcohol.
Acetaldehyde is excreted by your body through sweat, urine, and faeces, but it remains in your system after you stop drinking, which can result in a hangover.
Even with increased demand, the liver’s rate of alcohol metabolism remains constant, so even if you overindulge in alcohol, your body won’t process it any more quickly than it would under normal circumstances.
Heavy drinking over time makes the organ fatty and promotes the growth of thicker, fibrous tissue. As a result of the reduced blood flow, liver cells are deprived of essential nutrients. As they pass away, a condition known as cirrhosis occurs in which the liver develops scars and deteriorates.
Alcohol enters the bloodstream by passing through the stomach lining. Alcohol can take anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to enter the bloodstream, depending on the individual, the size of their stomach, and how much they consumed that day.
Alcohol makes your digestive juices flow more readily and irritates the stomach lining. You feel queasy and you might throw up if enough acid and alcohol accumulate. Years of binge drinking can result in ulcers, which are painful sores. Additionally, it may cause gastritis, an inflammatory condition of the stomach lining.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, despite the fact that many people mistakenly believe it to be a stimulant. Alcohol consumption slows brain processing and raises dopamine levels by reducing neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
Alcohol can change the way your brain functions and looks if you drink a lot for a long time. Its cells begin to alter and even shrink. Your brain can actually shrink if you drink too much. And that will have a significant impact on your capacity for thought, learning, and memory. It may also make it more difficult to control your movements and maintain a constant body temperature. For women, heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks per week, while for men, it’s 15 or more.
While a few glasses of red wine may be beneficial for your heart, excessive alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure, cause heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy, and increase your risk of stroke.
The muscle that separates the oesophagus from the stomach, the esophageal sphincter, can become weakened by alcohol consumption. Consequently, gastroesophageal reflux disease may develop and worsen (GERD).
Insulin and digestive enzyme production are both carried out by the pancreas. Excessive alcohol consumption can harm it. In the emergency room, pancreatitis is a common condition that almost always affects patients with gallstones or heavy alcohol consumption.
The effect on hormones
The pace at which you digest food and your sex drive are both controlled by these potent chemicals. You need them in the right balance to keep everything running smoothly. However, consuming alcohol may have an effect. For instance, some studies indicate that some women’s fertility may be impacted by moderate alcohol consumption. Men who drink heavily may experience lower testosterone levels and sperm production, according to research.
Modification of Body Temperature
Your blood vessels widen as a result of alcohol, increasing the blood flow to your skin. You feel flushed and toasty after hearing that. but only briefly. Your body immediately expels the heat from that additional blood, which lowers your body temperature. On the other hand, frequent heavy drinking raises blood pressure over time. Your body starts to produce stress hormones, which constrict blood vessels, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood through.
Drinking excessively can compromise your immune system, making you a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more likely than non-drinkers to develop illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis. Drinking excessive amounts in one sitting reduces your body’s ability to fight infections, even up to 24 hours after the last drink.
Risk of dehydration
Diuretics like alcohol can cause serious dehydration. Dehydration doesn’t make you intoxicated, but it can make you feel sick the next day. We had the idea that we could sober up patients who were extremely inebriated by giving them IV fluids, but that doesn’t work. Patients who receive intravenous fluids feel better because they are hydrated, but they still need to metabolise the fluid at a rate that is safe for their livers.