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How Alcohol Harms Your Health (Even in Small Amounts)

Shopify API April 04, 2023 No Comments
 Even small amounts of alcohol can result in serious physical and mental health issues. Know the risks so that you can make educated choices about what you put in your body.
Alcohol bottles on a windowsill
April 2023. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
Alcohol bottles on a windowsill

Beer, wine, and spirits are some of the most common alcoholic beverages in our society. And their impact on our physical and mental health depends on how much is consumed and how often.

But, it's essential to be aware of the risks and make informed decisions regarding alcohol consumption. If you're concerned, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Should You Apply Sunscreen Every Day?

When we drink alcohol, we consume beverages containing ethanol, produced through the fermentation of grains, fruits, or sugar. On a purely scientific level, ethanol is a harmful substance for humans. It can:

  • Depress the central nervous system, eyes, nose, and throat
  • Cause irritation, headache, fatigue, and loss of concentration
  • Affect unborn children if consumed during pregnancy
  • Cause liver cirrhosis with chronic consumption

It doesn't matter what alcoholic beverage you're drinking; it all contains ethanol. And ethanol is not good for human health.

For reference, ethanol is also blended with many fuels (including what you get from the gas station), and it's commonly used as an industrial solvent. It's also used to produce various chemical compounds and as a commercial dehydrating agent.

Health Issues Related to Alcohol

The World Health Organization (WHO) says alcohol contributes to more than 200 types of diseases and injuries. Every year, approximately 3 million deaths result from the harmful effects of alcohol.

Alcohol use, even in small quantities, can potentially result in several detrimental health impacts, including those outlined below.

Liver Disease

Alcoholism can damage the liver, leading to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and alcoholic hepatitis. And drinking large amounts of alcohol, even if only for a couple of days, can cause a build-up of fats in your liver.

Heart Disease

Long-term alcohol use can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. And despite popular belief, small amounts of alcohol are not typically beneficial for heart health unless specifically recommended by a doctor.

Cancer Risk

Long-term alcohol use increases the chance of developing some cancers, such as breast, liver, colon, and throat cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, drinking even small amounts of alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer in women.

Digestive Problems

Alcohol can harm the digestive tract, causing issues like pancreatitis, gastritis, and ulcers. Even a single episode of heavy drinking can potentially cause lesions and inflammation in the stomach.

Weakened Immune System

Long-term alcohol use can deteriorate the immune system and increase the risk of illness. Research suggests that even moderate alcohol use compromises the body's immune system.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, refers to the inability to control or stop alcohol use despite experiencing adverse health, social, and occupational effects. This condition can severely impact a person's life and relationships and emerges because of chronic alcohol usage.

Depression

Even a tiny amount of alcohol increases your risk of depression and depressive symptoms, especially in those who already suffer from depression and related mental health conditions. Alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Anxiety

Drinking can make anxiety symptoms worse or cause the onset of new anxiety disorders. Regular alcohol use is also associated with panic attacks.

Psychosis

Alcoholism in excess can lead to psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. While rare, alcohol-related psychosis may require hospitalization.

Memory Loss and Cognitive Impairment

Even small amounts of alcohol can impact your brain, memory, and cognitive functioning. And continued alcohol usage can result in issues such as attention, problem-solving, and decision-making challenges.

Sexual Health Issues

Alcohol use can have detrimental effects on one's sexual health, including:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced libido
  • Unsafe sexual activity
  • Decreased fertility
  • Irregular menstruation

For example, in men, even a small amount of alcohol can interfere with the messengers in the brain that signal the penis to become erect. Alcohol can also reduce testosterone production, which controls male sexual functions.

Tips to Avoid Drinking Alcohol

It's easier said than done to avoid alcohol. You might feel terrible after having a few beers the night before and swear it off forever. But when your friends are ordering mixed drinks, or you see your favorite liquor in the cabinet, "just one drink" might not sound so bad.
Here are some tips to avoid drinking alcohol so that you can protect your physical and mental health in the future:

  • Do other things: When you want to drink, find another activity. You may also want to avoid drinking-related social gatherings.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people: Spend time with those who respect your desire to abstain from drinking and who won't push you to do so.
  • Plan ahead: If you know you'll be around alcohol, prepare ahead of time by bringing your own non-alcoholic beverages or suggesting an alternative activity.
  • Learn to say "No": Be firm in your choice to abstain from alcohol and get practice saying "no" when someone offers you a drink.
  • Educate yourself: Learn more about the negative effects of alcohol on your health and well-being, and research the topic frequently to help you stay committed to not drinking.
  • Seek professional help: If you struggle with alcohol use disorder or a strong desire to drink alcohol that you cannot refuse, get support and professional assistance to kick the habit. There's no shame in asking for help!

Take Care of Your Mind and Body

Even small amounts of alcohol can harm your health, so the healthiest option is to avoid it altogether. But if you choose to continue drinking alcohol, remind yourself of the drawbacks of regular consumption to help keep things in moderation. After all, you only get one body, so take care of it!

And if you often drink to alleviate chronic pain, try the Kailo Pain Patch instead. It’s easy to use – just apply it near the site of pain and breathe a sign of relief – and doesn’t require any medication! Scientists theorize that Kailo works by interfering with your body's electrical system. In addition, a recent clinical study showed that Kailo is more effective than other prescription and over-the-counter medications, with no side effects!

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.

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