How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Over time, heavy drinking can cause alcohol dependency, or alcoholism. Unlike most other common addictions, acute alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Chronic alcohol use can also increase your risk of developing many forms of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, pancreas, breast and colon. Moderate drinking combined with tobacco use can further raise the risk of many cancers.

  • If you drink alcohol to excess, your immune system will not function as well as it should.
  • The destructive bacteria can also leak into the liver causing your liver to inflame and possibly become diseased.
  • With COVID-19 coming into play it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong.
  • Ethanol may be detrimental to immune cells due to the generation of free radicals during clearance; however, alcoholic beverages containing antioxidants should be protective against immune cell damage.

Alcohol can hinder the body’s ability to recover from tissue injury and heal infections. If a person regularly drinks alcohol, their injuries, cuts, and surgical site wounds may heal slower than someone who avoids alcohol. They are also more vulnerable to developing cellulitis and surgical site infections. Because a larger dose of alcohol is used, the effects of a single episode of drinking will be most evident when someone binge drinks. A single episode of binge drinking can greatly reduce immune system function for up to 24 hours. Fatty liver, early stage alcoholic liver disease, develops in about 90% of people who drink more than one and a half to two ounces of alcohol per day.

Part 2: COVID-19 and Alcoholism

Those who’ve experienced heavy substance often experience fever, seizures and even hallucinations. A person can experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome whether they have been drinking for weeks, months, or years. Withdrawal syndrome can be dangerous, particularly if a person experiences severe hallucinations or seizures. For this reason, it is advisable to go to a rehab center, where the staff can help monitor worsening symptoms. That can put you at risk for long-term disease, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Evidence suggests that excessive use of alcohol destroys important components of the immune system that prevent you from getting sick. When you drink alcohol, the body prioritizes breaking it down over several other normal functions. Because alcohol cannot be stored the same way as macronutrients like carbohydrates, it must be sent directly to the liver, where it is metabolized immediately. As a result, your body may neglect its immune response in favor of metabolizing large amounts of alcohol. The main function of the liver is to break down nutrients from digested food and detoxify toxic substances after they pass through the gut. The liver is responsible for eliminating alcohol from the body, and, as such, it is especially susceptible to damage caused by alcohol and its toxic byproducts.

COVID-19 & alcohol consumption

Ethanol, the chemical compound in alcohol, has a wide range of effects on the human body and the various organs and cells within it. Our physicians and other experts will post about improving mental health and well-being. Our physicians and other experts will post about the latest treatments and more for living a heart healthy life.

What alcohol is the unhealthiest?

  • Sugary Cocktails (500 Calories per 8 oz Serving)
  • Frozen Beach Drinks (280 Calories per 5 oz Serving)
  • Craft Beer (170 Calories per 12 oz Serving)
  • 8 Steps for Weight Loss Success if You Have Type 2 Diabetes.

Sunil Dash

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