Published on November 2nd, 2010 | by Dean Carr
The effects of alcohol on your body
Even if you don’t realise it, alcohol affects your brain from the moment you drink it. The brain’s functions are immediately impaired and as we all know, just a few drinks later, coordination, concentration and judgment are severely affected.
Digestive v digest if
Unfortunately, the notion that a digest if can aid digestion after a meal is all wrong. In fact, even small amounts of alcohol can irritate the stomach lining, and block the effective absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Be still my beating heart
Did you know that just one unit of alcohol – a quarter of a pint of beer – makes the heart beat faster? This is because alcohol relaxes the blood vessels, which open up and allow more blood through. This means the heart has to work harder to deliver this extra blood.
Lungs don’t lie
Did you know that, as you breathe out, your lungs expel five per cent of the alcohol you have consumed? This is why the breath test is used by police – and is one of the reasons why you’ll smell like a brewery in the morning.
Love your liver
This, as we all know, is the big one – alcohol and livers do not mix and here’s why. As the liver breaks down alcohol, by-product toxins are created that, over time, can attack the liver and cause devastating damage. So please, love your liver.
No, not a train station, the pancreas is another organ that’s affected by a booze binge. Just a few weeks of sustained drinking is enough to cause inflammation of the pancreas – known as pancreatitis – which will provide you with nausea, vomiting and a swollen stomach.
Still on the subject of organs, alcohol causes the kidneys to work overtime. This is because alcohol causes the kidneys to over-produce urine, which in turn causes dehydration. Your kidneys will cope, but many years of this can cause unpleasant problems.
A bloody mess
On a big night out, your blood is being used as a messenger of doom. It will deliver alcohol to all areas of the body and, while this is going on, the alcohol is attacking the oxygen-carrying red blood cells and causing them to die.
Ask-skin a lot
Alcohol dehydrates the skin, which exacerbates all of its wrinkly imperfections – on top of that, blood flow to the skin is increased, making you look red and flushed. Combined with the lines, you may like to stick to soda and lime!
Reproduction decline in function
Men, take note – heavy drinking can cause a drop in your testosterone levels, which can make your testicles shrink and cause impotence. Women can also stop smirking, because heavy drinking can disrupt the menstrual cycle and affect your fertility. Ginger beer all round!