When you take the first sip of the drink, it starts affecting your body. If you are a regular drinker, you should read to know the adverse effects of alcohol on the body.
There are short-term and long-term effects on the body. These are the list of some of the long-term harmful effects:
1. Alcohol damages your brain cell
Alcohol quickly and dramatically affects the brain, as your mind is a complex maze of connections that play an essential role in keeping your physical and psychological processes running smoothly. Therefore, any disturbances or disruption of this connection can affect the brain’s performance.
The intricate maze of the brain consists of trillions of tiny nerve cells known as neurons. These neurons translate information into electrical and chemical signals which your mind can understand easily. Neurons are also responsible for sending messages from the brain to different parts of the body with the help of neurotransmitters. The amount of neurotransmitters is mainly accountable for controlling your body’s responses, feelings, and mood.
Alcohol slows the speed of communication between neurotransmitters in the brain. Several researchers have revealed that alcohol causes the neurotransmitters to relay information too slowly, making you tremendously drowsy.
Behavioral changes like sudden changes in mood, depression, agitation, and memory loss also occur due to the effect of alcohol on neurotransmitters.
Reduction in the size of brain cells and alterations in the neurons result due to long-term and heavy drinking. Consequently, the growth of the inner cavity of the brain occurs and affects a range of abilities, motor coordination, temperature regulation, sleep, mood, and cognitive functions, including learning and memory.
2. It can cause death due to heart attack
For centuries, excessive alcohol consumption has been known to damage the heart. In addition, drinking for an extended period can put your heart at high risk. But you will be surprised; researchers have recently revealed that drinking moderate alcohol can protect your heart from the dangers of coronary artery disease.
Heavy drinking for a long time weakens the muscles of the walls of your heart, resulting in uneven contraction and expansion. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to nourish the organs sufficiently.
In some cases, organs and tissues may suffer severe damage. Alcohol also causes the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly; as a result, the heart cannot fill up with enough blood between each beat, and the rest of the body does not get enough blood.
When the body parts do not get enough blood, it causes dizziness, lightheadedness, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and sudden death.
Alcohol also causes strokes. Strokes result due to insufficient blood reaching the brain. Alcohol is also a leading cause of problems leading to hypertension, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathy.
3. Fatty liver to alcoholic cirrhosis
Alcohol harms the liver. Drinking over time builds up the fat in the liver. The excessive buildup of fat in the liver makes it more difficult for the liver to operate. As a result, the inflammation of the liver, commonly known as alcoholic hepatitis, may occur.
Alcoholic hepatitis is responsible mainly for fever, nausea, appetite loss, abdominal pain, and even mental confusion.
Heavy drinking of alcohol also causes scar tissues to build up in the liver. As a result, the organ’s function is affected—continuation to excessive drinking results in cirrhosis- a slow deterioration of the liver.
It prevents the liver from performing critical functions, including managing infections, removing harmful substances from the blood, and absorbing nutrients.
Complications like jaundice, insulin resistance, and liver cancer may occur due to the massive consumption of alcohol.
4. Alcohol increases cancer risk
Of the several reasons for cancer, excessive alcohol is one of the causes. Alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer in your body. Numbers of studies show that the more you drink alcohol, the more you get the probability of developing cancer.
Mouth cancer, esophagus cancer, pharynx and larynx cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer may appear on your body if you do not limit the consumption of alcohol.
Drinking five or more times can increase the risk of developing cancer.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund report, women who drink five standard drinks daily carry 1.2 times the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer than women who do not drink at all.
Drinkers are also more likely to smoke, which also causes to increase the risk of developing cancer. Smoking and drinking intensify cancer-promoting activities in the body.
Alcohol itself is not the primary booster of cancer, but it causes an increase in harmful toxins, and those toxins trigger the harmful radicals leading to the tumor.
5. Decreases the immune system
The immune system is the defense mechanism in your body that fights 24/7 infection and disease. In addition, the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract’s skin and mucous lining block bacteria from entering or staying inside your body.
Alcohol promotes the suppression of innate and adaptive immune systems. It reduces the performance of white blood cells to engulf harmful bacteria.
Alcohol triggers a massive production of cytokines that can damage tissues. Alcohol also suppresses the development of T and NK cells, making your body vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.
Pneumonia and Tuberculosis may frequently occur due to a weak immune system. Alcohol’s damage to the immune system also increases the risk of HIV infection.
6. Increase in sugar levels
Alcohol alters the functioning of the pancreas, disturbing the regulation of insulin. The damaged pancreases prevent your body from producing enough insulin to utilize the sugar.
As a result, your body may suffer from hyperglycemia, indicating too much sugar in your blood. You may also run the risk of experiencing low blood pressure or hyperglycemia.
Alcohol also stimulates the appetite, encouraging overeating and increasing blood sugar levels. Liquor also contains a certain amount of calories which promotes diabetes.
People with diabetes should be careful to take alcohol as it alters their blood sugar levels. Alcohol reduces the effectiveness of diabetes medicine. Consumption of both can result in rising and fall of blood sugar, which can also cause insulin shock, which can be life-threatening.
7. Weight gain and loss of appetite
Liquor is broken down into acetate, which the body will burn before any other calories present in the body you have consumed.
Alcohol contains calories, and when you drink and consume more alcohol, it further increases the body’s calories and fat. In addition, research reveals that when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat already there. So it ultimately results in the increase of weight in your body.
8. Bad for unborn and newborn baby
The effect of alcohol on the body of a pregnant woman puts the unborn born baby at risk. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, lower birth weight, stillbirth, and premature birth. Alcohol also damages the development of the baby’s brain and physical growth. As a result, some babies may be born with the condition known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Alcohol also affects the baby after birth. Babies of alcohol-dependent mothers can suffer from tremors, irritability, and fits. Unfortunately, no standard amount is prescribed for drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
A pregnant woman is advised not to drink alcohol.
The alcohol passes into the breast milk of the mother through the bloodstream. As a result, it can reduce the milk supply and cause irritability, poor feeding, and sleep disturbance in the baby.
A mother should avoid drinks or consume a meager amount during breastfeeding.
9. Low sperm count and quality
Much research has revealed that alcohol can harm the male reproductive system. It is toxic to the testicles and affects the critical cells that make sperm and produce the male hormone testosterone.
Chronic heavy drinking can cause shrinkage of the testicles and decreased testosterone production. It can result in loss of male characteristics and infertility.
Alcohol consumption in men appears to affect sperm count and sperm quality. The shape of the sperm is found to be altered, resulting in the ability to fertilize the eggs.