Ever wonder how alcohol affects your body? Alcohol consumption in moderation has been touted as being ‘good for health’. But what really happens when you drink? Watch this video to find out.
Moderate drinking may help your health, but heavy boozing only hurts it. Here are the pros and cons of how alcohol affects your body:
- Alcohol dehydrates you. It depresses the production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH).Dehydration leads to you feeling dizzy, nauseous and leaves you with a splitting headache.
- It causes your stomach cells to form excessive amounts of gastric acid, which can irritate the lining of the stomach. You may suffer from diarrhoea after binge drinking.
- Heavy alcohol use is the most common cause of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas and a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
- Drinking excessively causes the liver to accumulate fat (fatty liver) and become inflamed (hepatitis). It also leads to cirrhosis, a condition in which liver cells are so damaged they can’t regenerate, and liver failure.
- Moderate alcohol consumption may ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but in high doses, alcohol kills brain cells, leading to brain damage that may manifest itself as permanent memory loss. Heavy drinking may even change the brain in ways that may permanently alter your behaviour.
- Drinking even in moderate amounts (particularly on an empty stomach) has been linked to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
There are some pros of drinking though. When consumed in moderation alcohol may protect the heart by raising “good” HDL cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and “thinning the blood” (preventing clots that can cause heart attack and stroke). Moderate drinking also increases estrogen, which protects the heart—a benefit particularly helpful to postmenopausal women whose reduced estrogen levels increase their risk of heart disease.