What’s the truth about alcohol and health?

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to a horrible range of health issues, some very serious.

They include:

  • hepatitis,
  • liver cirrhosis,
  • mental health disorders,
  • enlarged, thickened and rigid heart muscle,
  • suppression of immunity,
  • and seven types of cancer including breast and bowel.

Not just health but..

It’s not only the damage alcohol does to the drinker but the damage it does to people around them. Many fatal and life-limiting car accidents; violent, changeable and abusive behaviour; child neglect and inability to work and provide for dependents.

That won’t happen to any of us though, right?

Most drinkers think none of that applies to them, in fact they don’t even think they’re a ‘drinker’ because alcohol is so ingrained in our way of life now. A drinker might be seen as someone who is drunk a lot and who is alcohol dependent. Well, as soon as you feel alcohol’s effects, whether it’s feeling calmer, happier or lightheaded you are already slightly drunk.

In fact a huge number of people get slightly drunk every night in their homes and are addicted without knowing it, i.e. the thought of not having alcohol gives them a sense of loss, panic or fear. Every time you drink alcohol you are opening the gate for internal damage, including to your brain.

Actually not just internal because alcohol ages us too, affecting skin, hair, nails, your precious teeth, and your pallor.

Alcohol, your stomach and calories

Alcohol is one of the very few substances that’s actually absorbed through the stomach, another one is aspirin. That means it hits the bloodstream really fast, along with its calories. Not only can this damage the stomach lining and impair digestion of nutrients but it means that those calories are available to the body before food calories, so more of the calories from food will become excess energy.

Does all this mean you shouldn’t drink?

No. A glass of wine is so nice with a meal, and it’s nice to have an aperitif sometimes. ‘Sometimes’ is the word here. Alcohol shouldn’t be a staple, definitely not something you have every day and neither in binges or on its own as a pastime.

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