Alcohol can take a serious toll on your health as a result of its cumulative drinking effect. The impact of alcohol on the body starts with its very first sip. It can affect any part of the body causing different abnormalities. We look into the different parts of the body that consistent intake of alcohol may affect. It is important to know the effects of alcohol on men’s health to avert possible dangers.
Alcohol is a depressant, which slows down the central nervous system and can cause drowsiness, relieve pain and induce sleep. It also causes loss of coordination, distorted speech and altered thoughts. Large doses of alcohol can lead to respiratory failure or unconsciousness. Impaired hearing ability, dulled sense of smell and taste causing loss of appetite are also possible. In addition, it may lead to loss of pain perception, altered sense of time and space causing slows reactions. Long-term drinking may result in permanent brain damage (Korsakoff’s syndrome or ‘wet brain’), serious mental disorders, and addiction to alcohol.
Alcohol can cause respiratory distress if consumed excessively. It can also lead to chronic inflammatory diseases as a result of depression of the respiratory centre of the brain.
This is one of the vital organs in the body. It helps in the detoxifying of harmful substances in the body. Chronic Alcohol consumption can lead to liver diseases like liver cirrhosis (scarring and destruction of the liver tissue), hepatitis (chronic inflammation and damage of liver cells), fatty infiltration of the liver (fat covers the liver) impedes its functions and cause liver failure, coma and death. Liver damage causes fluid to build in extremities (Edema) and decreases the production of blood-clotting factors; may cause uncontrolled bleeding.
Chronic alcohol drinking can cause cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and increased blood pressure. This can lead to heart diseases like heart failure, cerebral artery disease and myocardial infarction. Alcohol can also weaken the heart muscle. Thus, it prevents the heart from carrying out its functions to meet the oxygen demand of the body.
Alcohol affects every part of the human system. It can affect the calcium production in the body. Consequently, it causes bones to get soft, brittle and thinner in a condition known as osteoporosis.
Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs caused by nerve damage from depletion of thiamine (B vitamin); when severe, can damage other nerve endings, causing s (Wernicke’s encephalopathy).
Alcohol has got a major effect on the stomach more than anyone can imagine. It causes irritation and damage in the mouth and oesophagal lining down to the stomach. Alcohol consumption aids fast metabolism which can lead to stomach and duodenal ulcerations, inflammations and bleeding lesions. These lesions can cause perforations leading to systemic infection in the body. It can also affect the pancreas and liver thereby interfering with their functions. It can lead to an overall systemic effect like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea upon irritation of the intestinal tract.
Alcohol can alter sexual libido (sex drive) leading impaired sexual functioning. This can also lead atrophy of the testes resulting in impotence, erectile dysfunction or infertility.
Heavy drinking can alter the body’s defence system to fight infections and attack. Alcohol prevents the production of immunoglobulins, antibodies and leucocytes. These are important in the blood to boost body immunity against infections. Infections are caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi when they invade the body through food, air, water or sexual contact. Hence, chronic drinkers are more liable to infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Drinking too much alcohol is one lifestyle habit that can increase your risk of developing certain cancers. However, this does not mean that anyone who drinks too much will develop cancer. However, numerous studies do show the more you drink, the more you increase your chances of developing certain types of cancer. For example, a group of Italy based scientists reviewed more than 200 studies examining alcohol’s impact on cancer risk. The collective results of these studies clearly demonstrate cancer risks that the more you drink, the higher your risk for developing a variety of cancers. The National Cancer Institute identifies alcohol as a risk factor for the following types of cancer:
At least 7 out of 10 people with mouth cancer drink heavily. Drinking five or more drinks per day can also increase your risk of developing other types of cancers, including colon or rectal cancer.
In conclusion, be careful about your intake of alcohol. Abstinence will eliminate the risk and lower intake may reduce it. However, if you take alcohol regularly, ensure you visit the doctor regularly to help control any health issues that may arise.