Rethinking Drinking: How Alcohol Affects Your Health

Many individuals enjoy occasional alcohol consumption without experiencing any major adverse reactions, which can make it seem like this is perfectly acceptable and harmless.  However, despite the fact that alcohol is both legal and socially acceptable, it is still a drug substance that can adversely affect an individual’s health.  Even occasional alcohol consumption that continues over a long period of time can take a serious toll on an individual’s body, and drinking too much–either all at once or over time–can definitely put an individual at great risk.  It is therefore important to consider all the potential effects of alcohol consumption prior to engaging in it.

How Alcohol Affects Your Health

When consumed, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream where it then makes its way to all areas of the body, including:

● The brain.  Alcohol can change the way the brain looks and works, interfering with normal communication pathways.  This can result in a change in the individual’s mood or behavior, and he can find it harder to think clearly or to properly coordinate normal physical movement.

● The heart.  Excessive alcohol consumption, whether all at once or spread over time, can damage the heart, leading to cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure and more.  However, some research has indicated that moderate amounts of certain types of alcohol may actually help to protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.

● The liver.  Of all the areas of the body most affected by alcohol consumption, the liver is usually considered to be at the top of the list.  The liver is responsible for cleaning the blood, and it can easily be overwhelmed by regular and excessive alcohol consumption.  This can lead to steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis.

● The pancreas.  Alcohol consumption can cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances which can lead to dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas.

Alcohol consumption can also weaken an individual’s immune system, making them more prone to common illnesses as well as diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis.  It can also increase an individual’s risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast. Individuals who are interested in leading healthy and active lifestyles may find that the minimal pleasure derived from initial alcohol consumption is far outweighed by the many damaging effects it has on their health.  The wisest choice is to abstain from alcohol consumption altogether.

Erica D'Arcangelo is an Internet Marketing Expert and co-owner of Fresh, Healthy & Fit where she is a regular contributor. Erica has been active in the health and fitness industry through spinning, yoga, HITT training and much more over the last decade. She's a fitness enthusiast and has also helped others with healthy living through her own blog.