August 23, 2017

Alcohol Medical Aspects

[frame align=”left”]Alcohol Medical Aspects[/frame]It is important to recognize every system in the body is affected negatively by the excessive consumption of alcohol. While health risks are great for all who excessively consume alcohol, the health risks are higher for women than they are for men.

Two specialists from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) along with Members of Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) ranked various drugs as to the amount of harm they cause. They ranked the drugs from 0 to 100 in a variety of areas, including physical harm to the individual and harm to society as a whole. In a list that includes crack cocaine, heroin, tobacco and methamphetamines, alcohol ranked as number one in the overall harm it causes to both the individual and society. Alcohol scored 72 out of 100, while the second place drug, heroin, scored 55 out of 100.

Studies have shown that medical issues caused by alcohol can last far into sobriety, as well.

Alcohol Negatively Affects the Liver

Any discussion regarding alcohol use and medical issues should include the negative affects alcohol has upon the liver. The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study in which Italian researches discovered that in both men and women, the risk for developing liver cancer was elevated for those who consumed more than 60 grams of alcohol daily.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a condition in which the liver no longer functions properly due to deterioration and scarring caused by chronic injury. Excessive consumption of alcohol causes this chronic injury.

In women, the amount of alcohol consumption that damages a liver can be two or three drinks per day. In men, the amount can be three to four drinks. Not only shots and hard liquor, these drinks include both wine and beer.

Once damaged, the liver loses its ability to function normally. The liver helps the body by controlling infections, making proteins that help regulate blood clotting, producing bile that helps to absorb fats and cholesterol, remove toxins and bacteria from the blood and help the body process hormones and nutrients.

A healthy liver can regenerate damaged cells in itself. This is why liver transplant donors can donate a small portion of the liver. It will grow and regenerate for both the donor and the recipient. In the end stage of cirrhosis, it can no longer accomplish this regeneration. Ultimately, an unhealthy liver leads to death.

Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death, in the category of death by disease, in America.

Alcohol Negatively Affects the Brain

While alcohol medical aspects reveal that alcohol negatively affect the brains of both men and women, research is showing that women are at risk for more brain damage caused by drinking than men. Additionally, two separate studies have shown that women experience much quicker brain “shrinking” and memory damage than men who drink.

Researchers suspect the shrinking affect occurring in the brain is due to brain cells killed due to high alcohol consumption. Dementia links to alcoholism and appears to be a higher risk for women than for men who drink. This may be due in part to the fact that the same amount of alcohol consumed by both men and women seems to raise a woman’s blood alcohol levels higher than a man’s might. This higher blood alcohol level plays affects a woman’s brain more rapidly than a man’s does brain.

The brain shrinkage research has not been limited to men and women, however. Research published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research of September 2005 found that alcohol also negatively affects the brain size of youth who are early-onset drinkers. The affect alcohol has on the brains of young drinker’s results in a smaller prefrontal cortex. This region of the brain works with the regulation of emotions, complex thinking, inhibitions and planning.

Though the brain does have the capacity to reverse some damage, such as shrinkage, caused by alcohol, a German study revealed that the longer a person is an excessive drinker, the lower the ability of the brain to regenerate or repair the damage caused by alcohol.

Even into sobriety, the affects alcohol has on the brain can continue. A German study showed that visuospatial and visuoperceptial deficits can continue to cause harm in recovering alcoholics.

Alcohol Negatively Affects the Body in Other Ways

According to research alcohol medical aspects includes a large array of options in which alcohol affects the body negatively. In addition to the brain and liver, alcohol also causes an increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure, among other things. Two separate Japanese studies showed the even alcohol consumption that has been determined “modest” can elevate blood pressure. This translates to an elevated risk for hypertension in drinkers.

Increase change of stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association published a study in which researchers discovered that in the first hour after alcohol consumption the risk for stroke increases significantly. For those already at risk of stroke, this makes alcohol consumption a very bad idea. The medical issues caused by excessive alcohol use should cause anyone to think twice about whether they should consume alcohol at all, get treatment for alcohol abuse or determine how much is a safe amount to drink.