41 Ways Alcohol Ruins Your Health

41 Ways Alcohol Ruins Your Health

If you like to have a drink once in a while, chances are you’re having a few more than usual, given the fact that we’re all self-isolating. But the reason why we’re self-isolating—to protect against the coronavirus—is all the more reason to drink less. You need your immune system at full strength to combat COVID-19. Read on to discover the ways alcohol ruins your health, and share this story with someone who needs to read it.

Ask anyone who’s ever found themselves in the clutches of a hangover and they’ll tell you that the only thing they want the morning after a night of over-imbibing is food, food, and more food. Alcohol has a tendency to increase our body’s production of stomach acid, something we often try to suppress with food — particularly food of the carb- and fat-heavy variety. Even worse, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so those plans to have a healthy dinner go right out the window after a cocktail or two.

When you drink, your circulation suffers. This is actually what’s happening when you get that warm-all-over feeling from sucking down the sauce — your blood vessels are constricting. Research conducted at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center confirms a link between alcohol consumption, circulation issues, and an increase in blood pressure.

If you have a family history of epilepsy, there’s no time like the present to reduce your intake of alcohol. Research conducted by the Alcohol and Epilepsy Study Group shows that alcohol use does indeed increase your risk of seizures.

Alcohol is a diuretic, and when consumed in sufficient quantities, it leeches water from all over your body, including your brain. The result is often a crippling headache, muscle pain, and a thirst you just can’t seem to quench, no matter how much water or how many sugar- and calorie-packed sports drinks you guzzle down.

If you’re in an elevated risk group for diabetes, whether you’re currently overweight or simply have a family history of the disease, every time you drink, you’re walking a fine line between good health and serious consequences. Alcohol consumption can not only cause you to pack on the pounds, which can increase your risk of diabetes even further, but also can interfere with your body’s production of insulin, thus increasing your diabetes risk even if you manage to stay slim.

Have you ever felt your belly burning after consuming alcohol? That doesn’t just mean it’s a strong drink — that means the alcohol could be causing damage to your internal organs. Over time, alcohol can increase you body’s production of stomach acid, eventually wearing away the lining of your stomach, causing ulcers and other painful gastrointestinal conditions.

There’s a reason we so often hear the phrase “beer belly” and rarely hear anyone complaining about their “green tea belly.” Alcohol is notorious for contributing to weight gain, but it’s not just beer that will do it. Researchers from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea have confirmed a significant link between alcohol consumption and increased waist size and belly fat.

It’s funny how many people would turn up their nose at a plate of dessert as it passes them by, but think nothing of downing cocktail after cocktail. From wine to mixed drinks to beer, many types of alcoholic beverages are packed with carbohydrates and sugar, adding huge numbers of calories to your diet as well as pounds to your waistline.

If there’s one word we’re all terrified of hearing when we visit the doctor, it’s cancer. While certain types of cancer are unavoidable, there are nearly as many types that are directly related to the consumption of alcohol. Diseases like throat, stomach, esophageal, and liver cancer are all linked to alcohol consumption, according to a study of Lithuanian subjects, although the type of alcohol consumed, whether hard liquor, wine, or beer, didn’t seem to have a significant effect on the rate of cancer development.

We all know that alcohol can impair memory in the short-term, but its long-term effects on the brain aren’t much prettier. The results of a British study published in Age and Ageing suggests a significant link between alcohol consumption and dementia, so if you’re hoping to keep your brain healthy as you age, slow down on the sauce now.

Feeling stiff, uncomfortable, and cramped up during your AM workout? The culprit could be those beers you were drinking last night. Alcohol’s diuretic effect forces your body to draw water from other sources, including your muscles, leaving you more prone to cramps, injury, and a serious lack of desire to hit the gym.

If you’ve ever felt like you get sick more often when you’re drinking, you’re not imagining things. Alcohol consumption can throw your gut bacteria seriously out of whack, compromising your immune system and making you more susceptible to illness. Since alcohol seriously lowers your inhibitions as well, you’re more likely to engage in behavior that could put you at risk for catching something, whether you’re smooching on a fellow bar patron or resting your tired head against that sticky subway pole.

Trying to have a baby? There’s no time to quit drinking like the present. Since it’s often hard to pinpoint the exact point of conception, it’s important to give yourself a break from the booze before you start trying to conceive. There’s no consensus in the medical community about how much alcohol it takes to cause fetal alcohol syndrome, but the research is clear about alcohol intake increasing the risk of miscarriage, birth defects, and pre-term labor. In addition, the results of a Danish study confirm that even moderate alcohol consumption can lower a woman’s chances of conception.

If you’ve ever felt like you lost a few brain cells after a night throwing back drinks, you might just be right. Researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet found a significant link between binge drinking and lower IQ, and findings published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Researc h suggest that alcohol consumption damages the parts of the brain associated with impulse control.

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