If you are like millions of other Americans, you probably enjoy a few alcoholic during the week and maybe a few more on the weekend. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a drunk driving accident and even social problems among friends, but it can also negatively affect your health.
Here’s what drinking too much alcohol can do to your body:
Defining “Too Much”
Before discussing the health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol, it’s important to define what “too much” means. According to the Mayo Health Clinic, moderate drinking is one drink a day for women and two for men; these guidelines are for healthy adults under the age of 65.
One drink can be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or “hard alcohol” (80 proof). Anything more than this can have harmful effects. It’s important to keep in mind that any amount of alcohol can be harmful depending on the health of an individual.
Alcohol and Your Mind
When some people drink to excess on a Saturday night, they may forget a discussion they had or that embarrassing dance move. Moderate drinkers may have memory impairment, impaired decision-making, and might even blackout.
Heavier, long-term drinkers, on the other hand, may have memory loss, lose the ability to think abstractly, and the brain may even shrink or lose vital function.
Increased Risk of Certain Cancers
Individuals who drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol may be at a greater risk of certain cancers such as mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, and breast. Some ways that alcohol increases the risk of cancer includes an increase in blood levels of estrogen (in breast cancer) and the inability to absorb certain vital nutrients.
Drinking a glass of wine has been known to be beneficial to heart health, but drinking too much can have adverse effects. Although long-term drinking is more dangerous to heart health, too much alcohol at one time can also do damage. Too much alcohol consumption can result in high blood pressure, stroke, an irregular heartbeat, and can weaken the heart.
See children in your future? Whether you are a man or a woman, your long term drinking could affect your fertility and can also lead to sexual dysfunction. In can also increase the risk of miscarriage and other future pregnancy issues for women.
Do you get sick easily? You may want to look at your drinking habits. Medical experts say that alcohol abuse can lead to a weakened immune system. Like your body’s inability to absorb vital nutrients, it has a hard time fighting viruses and germs if you drink too much alcohol.
Drinking alcohol can lighten up the mood at a party and be a nice addition to a five-star meal. With moderation, it’s okay for most people to partake, but it’s important to make sure you know how it can affect your health.