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Learn how every part of your body suffers from excessive alcohol

Learn how every part of your body suffers from excessive alcohol

Beer, draft beer, whiskey, vodka, caipirinha. Before filling the hole in this Carnival, it is good to know of some valuable information about the effects of alcohol exaggeration in your body. Did you know that the most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that Brazilians consume 18.5 liters of pure alcohol per year and are therefore the fourth most consuming country in the Americas? do not stop there. Still according to the WHO, alcohol causes almost 4% of deaths worldwide, killing more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence. Today the impact of alcohol abuse is considered equal to the impact of addiction itself, alcoholism.

Effects of alcohol on the human body

For those who do not know, alcohol abuse is when the person ingests alcohol in doses more than five, in a single situation, without a "career" as a consumer, but it still harms the body.

This is a cause for concern, since it shows that a person who abuses alcoholic beverages at one time or another can run the same life risks as a dependent person. "This is because the body of an abuser is not accustomed to ethanol, unlike the dependent," says psychiatrist Ana Cecilia Marques, a researcher at the Unit for Alcohol and Drugs (UNIAD) of UNIFESP and specialist in chemical dependence of the Brazilian Association of Studies of Alcohol and other Drugs (Abead)

Check now why the excess of alcoholic beverages cause so much damage to our organism and that our bodies are most affected by this practice:

stomach pain - Photo Getty Images

Why is too much alcohol to cause so much damage?

To understand how drinking alcohol can cause harm to so many parts of our body, we need to explain the process of metabolizing alcohol or ethanol, that is, how our body absorbs, metabolizes and excretes this substance.

Ana Cecilia explains that the organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol is the liver, and that it only metabolizes one serving of alcohol per hour on average - understand a dose such as a can of beer (360ml), a glass of wine (100ml) or distillate (40ml). take six cans of beer, for example, our liver will take the same six hours to metabolize all the alcohol present in our body. "And while the liver metabolizes the first canister, the rest of the alcohol is circulating in the blood and intoxicating, causing changes and damage to different organs," explains Ana Cecília.

The organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol is the liver, and it only metabolizes one serving of alcohol per hour.

Gastrointestinal System

When we drink a beer or a caipirinha, alcohol is soon absorbed by our gastrointestinal system. It irritates the mucous membranes of the esophagus and stomach, altering the membranes of the intestine, impairing absorption.

The results can be esophagitis, gastritis and even diarrhea. In the liver, alcohol will alter the production of enzymes, increasing this set of substances that will be responsible for metabolization.

"It is as if alcohol forces the work of the liver, which is overloaded," says Ana. is now producing more enzymes to metabolize ethanol and this culminates with chronic inflammation and alcoholic hepatitis, and can progress to cirrhosis. "Another organ affected by excess alcoholic beverages is the pancreas, responsible for the manufacture of insulin and digestive enzymes. Alcohol can cause an inflammation in the pancreas, and this inflammation can progress to pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a disease that causes a strong and sudden abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and fever. Treatment is done in hospitals and includes medications for pain and antibiotics.

Alcohol - Photo Getty Images

Central nervous system

When we abuse alcoholic beverages, the nervous system, ie our brain is affected right after the second dose. Men present changes in perception of reality and behavior shortly after the second dose, and women already in the first.

According to the specialist Ana Cecilia, the symptoms resulting from the presence of alcohol in the nervous system are: attention problems, loss of recent memory, loss of reflex, loss of the critical judgment of reality. With increased dose, somnolence, anesthesia and, in the highest degree, the alcoholic coma. "9 Coma is a degree of severe intoxication by the direct action of ethanol in the central nervous system and other organic systems," says Ana Cecilia. When this happens, it is very important to seek medical help. If the body can not recover from the coma, there may be a respiratory arrest, which can lead to death.

The reversal of the chart includes general measures for life maintenance, ranging from oxygenation, hydration, correction of glucose, magnesium and

Kidney - Photo Getty Images

Kidney system

The kidneys are responsible for the final filtration of ethanol, of only 6% of the substance. But when we abuse drinks, ethanol alters the kidneys' ability to filter out substances in our body, causing a change in the hormones that control blood pressure, which culminates in high blood pressure.


As blood passes by the lungs to effect gas exchange, nor is this organ free from the effects of alcohol. "Ethanol leaves gas exchanges slower, because the lungs get very dirty blood," says Ana Cecilia.

The result is slower breathing, making the person feel difficult to breathe. This is also why the breathalyzer captures the alcohol ingested, which is still circulating.

Cardiovascular system

Ingestion of alcoholic beverages favors the release of dopamine into the brain. This neurotransmitter hormone is responsible for regulating other substances that in turn regulate the cardiovascular system.

This means a possible change in blood pressure, heart rate and then blood vessels. Tachycardia and high blood pressure are the most common consequences.

Drunk - Photo Getty Images

Muscle system

It is the central nervous system that is responsible for moving our muscles. Abead's medical specialist explains that in addition to the central alteration caused by alcohol, which leaves the messages that reach the muscles slower, the peripheral nerve connections are compromised, and the sensation is relaxing.

Hormonal system

No one escapes of the action of ethanol and therefore the glands also have their products, in the case the hormones, altered. However, it is people who already have hormone-altering diseases, such as diabetes, who feel the most physical harm from drinking.

The main consequence of alcohol abuse in diabetics, for example, is a rapid evolution to alcoholic coma. Ana explains that ethanol alters the metabolism of glucose by the liver and the pancreas, the latter already ill with diabetes.

Hangover - Photo Getty Images


In addition to all the complications that alcohol causes while the individual is still drunk and intoxicated, it still leaves its effect to the next day, the famous hangover. Among the symptoms of hangover are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, shuffling thought, drowsiness and even a feeling of sadness.

Alcohol abuse is different from alcoholism

As previously said, alcohol abuse is when the person drinks in large quantities and has problems, but is not dependent.

Alcoholism is the chronic disease, addiction to drinking. And the consequences are individual for both abusers and dependents.

"When people are dependent on alcohol, they have a different tolerance for ethanol, which takes an average of five years to develop," he says. However, when the problems appear, the complications are much more serious and often irreversible.

Among the diseases that can arise from alcoholism are chronic gastritis, chronic hepatitis which can progress to cirrhosis, high blood pressure, diabetes due to chronic alteration in the functioning of the pancreas and memory problems that can progress to alcoholic dementia - not only when it is under the effects of drinking, as is the case of abuse. In addition, alcohol also alters immunity, paving the way for the emergence of other diseases.

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