Drinking too much alcohol than what your body can process leads to intoxication as the alcohol level builds up in your bloodstream. While you may experience feelings of excitement, the distribution of alcohol throughout your body slows down brain function and affects your body’s nerve endings. Too much alcohol has been shown to slow down the immune system, inhibit new bone production, and affect both the circulatory and digestive systems.
An occasional glass of wine with friends isn’t a cause of concern. However, heavy drinking can take its toll on your health. Here’s how excessive alcohol consumption affects your body:
Increases the Risk for some Cancers
According to the National Cancer Institute, alcohol consumption increases the risk of an array of cancers. The risk is even higher in heavy drinkers as they are five times more likely to get esophageal cancer than those who don’t drink alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, throat cancer, and cancer of the mouth. Consuming as little as one alcoholic drink a day has been shown to increase breast cancer.
Affects Long-Term Memory and Bran Structure
You probably have that one friend who can’t remember key events and details after blacking out following a night of heavy drinking. Alcohol consumption, over a long period of time, can cause the frontal lobes of the brain to shrink, leading to cognitive problems even after the person attains sobriety. Research has shown that heavy drinking tends to erode brain tissue and can increase the risk of stroke.
Affects your Immune System
Your immune system is responsible for fighting off germs, viruses, and illnesses in your body. Many people don’t realize the effect of alcohol on their immune system. The bacteria-fighting white blood cells become less efficient and sluggish when you consume alcohol. Heavy drinking has been shown to weaken the immune system and increase the risk for illnesses such pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other infections.
Changes the Composition of Organisms in your Gut
Your body depends on trillions of “good” bacteria and microorganisms in the digestive tract to not only digest food but also produce the much-needed vitamins. The composition of these microorganisms is very important to the digestive system. However, alcohol consumption changes the composition of these very important microorganisms, resulting in stomach pains, diarrhea, stomach bloating, rosacea, and constipation. Overtime, the bacterial overgrowth and imbalance migrates into the liver, leading to liver damage.
Affects your Sexual and Reproductive Health
Most people think drinking alcohol will lower their inhibitions and make them become more fun in bed. Well, studies have shown that heavy drinking can lead to erectile dysfunction in men and prevent the production of sex hormone. Heavy drinking has also been shown to affect the menstrual cycle in women. It also increases the risk for infertility in women. Research has shown that heavy drinking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and premature delivery.
Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, especially for people who have become dependent on it. It’s important that you seek medical detoxification to break an alcohol addiction. The cumulative effects of alcohol consumption can affect your overall health.