Just One More Drink: Alcohol and the Body
Written by: Emma Anius
Whether you’d like to admit it or not, everybody indulges with an extra glass of wine or a couple cold beers after a hard day at work at some point in time. With the growing number of rum shops around the place, it’s hard not to get tempted to stop off with friends for one drink. Although it may just seem like your stopping off for a harmless drink, one usually turns into two and before you know it your stumbling home; but what is this excessive drinking really doing to your insides?
Drinking in moderation has been highlighted in recent times as good for the body, with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, and protecting against cardiovascular diseases by potentially raising good cholesterol (HDL), decreasing inflammation and thinning the blood. Moderate alcohol consumption may also boost bone density and reduce risk of bone fractures, by raising the levels of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, which help to keep bones strong.
They key word is moderation and people often forget that and use it as an excuse to drink recklessly with no knowledge on what is exactly happening to the body. Excessive alcohol use has been linked to several types of cancer including liver and mouth cancer, both of which are on the rise. Even as little as one alcoholic drink a day can increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Heavy alcohol use is the most common cause of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas and a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
Its not just cancer excessive drinking can cause, drinking especially on an empty stomach has been linked to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Not only can excessive drinking cause cardiovascular diseases, it may also increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, by accelerating the rate of bone deterioration. Alcohol also flushes calcium from the body, which is a mineral essential for strong, dense bones. Although the experts say that drinking in moderation can help the heart and the bones if you drink too much you can cause sever damage to your body.
Everybody is aware of how important the liver is and the damage that excessive drinking can do to it. Excessive drinking can cause the liver to accumulate fat and become inflamed, it can also lead to liver failure and cirrhosis which is a condition where liver cells are so damaged they can’t regenerate. The liver works hard to filter out any toxins, and it also stores excess vitamins and minerals to be used later. It is such an important organ because it works with every other organ in our body to keep us healthy so any damage caused to it can be irreparable and in some cases even fatal.
Diabetes is very common throughout the Caribbean, and it happens to be the number one cause of death in St. Lucia according to the World Health Rankings (2010). There is evidence that suggests heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can trigger type-2 diabetes. Chronic pancreatitis is another disease associated with heavy drinking it is caused when your pancreas becomes inflamed and cells become damaged and diabetes happens to be a common side effect of chronic pancreatitis. So the next time you decide to go out for a drink after work with friends, remember the damages you could be causing to your body and think before you over drink.
Looking after your body is the key to healthy living.
If you have no time to exercise or don’t know where to begin:
Medicine ball twists x 20, front raise x 15, side raise x 15, side lunge x 10, squat x 10
Medicine ball twists x 50, front raise x 25, side raise x 25, side lunge x 20, squat x 20
- For help with the exercises go to www.facebook.com/cyanfitness and view the photos