Many people often use alcohol as part of their socialisation or use it for stress relief, or recreational purposes. However, it’s crucial to consume alcohol in moderation to reduce the risk of various health-related consequences. The recommended quantities for men and women are two and one standard drinks per day, respectively, with one standard drink containing 14 grams of alcohol.
It is generally known that alcohol consumption can be unhealthy. The adverse effects on the body also depend on several factors including age, pre-existing health conditions, genetic background, and the individual differences in alcohol metabolism. For pregnant women, alcohol is strictly prohibited due to its serious effects on foetal development, leading to cognitive and physical abnormalities such as intellectual disabilities and low birth weight.
The adverse effects of alcohol include:
- The toxic substances in alcohol can impair the functioning of various body organs, potentially leading to conditions like gastritis, peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, or even liver cancer. Individuals struggling with alcohol addiction are ten times more likely to die from cirrhosis than the general population.
- Alcohol can negatively impact the nervous system and the brain, potentially causing epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy, and disorders such as ataxia or even altered consciousness.
- Alcohol can contribute to cardiovascular problems, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases, and even stroke.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a decreased appetite, resulting in malnutrition or deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as B vitamins or certain types of proteins. This can lead to anaemia and other complications.
- In women, alcohol consumption may heighten the risk of breast cancer and disrupt the reproductive system, causing irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, and early menopause.
For pregnant women, alcohol is strictly prohibited due to its serious effects on foetal development, leading to cognitive and physical abnormalities such as intellectual disabilities, low birth weight, and behavioral issues. It is important to note that there is currently no established safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Given these potential serious health effects, if you or someone you know is struggling with excessive alcohol consumption, it’s advisable to them to seek help from healthcare professionals.
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