Alcohol

The following information is from the comprehensive NHS Choices website about alcohol, you can visit it here.

    The health dangers of drinking too much

 

Drinking too much can put a serious strain on your body. It takes your liver an hour to process one unit of alcohol. So having two or three drinks an hour overloads your system – which means your health could suffer. After a session of heavy drinking take a break for 48 hours to let your body recover.

When you drink too much or too quickly, for a start you’ll experience:

Dizziness
Being sick
Falling over
Headaches
Hangover

You might hope to sleep it all off but the most common side effect of excessive drinking is a hangover. These vary according to how much you drank and how well your body processes alcohol.
Hangovers can leave you tired and unable to concentrate. This can lower your performance at work and your ability to carry out complicated or physically demanding tasks. It’s also more difficult to control your moods.

Other short-term effects:
Sexual difficulties like impotence
Slowed breathing and heartbeat
Loss of consciousness
Increased risk of accident and injury
Regular over-drinking

Most people who suffer from health problems because of their drinking are not alcoholics, but rather are those who drink heavily over a number of years. Many suffer few immediate consequences of their drinking, but cumulatively it takes its toll. 6,000 deaths from coronary heart disease in men each year are directly due to alcohol. And 400 of the 1,700 deaths from mouth cancer per year are linked to heavy drinking – that’s nearly one in four.

In England and Wales, alcohol misuse leads to some 33,000 hospital admissions each year for alcohol-related liver disease.

Regularly drinking more than the recommended number of units over a long period can lead to complications like:
Certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer
Memory loss, brain damage or even dementia
Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
Liver disease, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer
Stomach damage
Potentially fatal alcohol poisoning

Other Long-term effects:
As you get older, the risks increase. Not only is your body less able to process alcohol, but if you fall you are more likely to seriously injure yourself. You may also notice as time passes:

Smaller genitals
Lower sperm count
Loss of body hair
Irregular periods and lower fertility
Damage to an unborn child
Your appearance can suffer:
Weight gain from alcohol’s high calorie content
Skin problems
Did you know?

Older drinkers are more likely to feel the effects the following morning, due to changes in the body that develop with age such as a decrease in body water content and an increase in body fat content. Even from the age of 20 onwards, lean body mass (muscle) also reduces, leading to higher blood alcohol concentration for the same amount of alcohol consumed.

DrinkCheck can help you find out more about your drinking. Visit the NHS Choices Alcohol pages here.