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Health Topics     April 25, 2013
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Alcohol Consumption

Health Problems Arising from Alcohol Consumption:

1. General damage
Alcohol causes red blood cells to cluster resulting in a blockage of capillaries (small blood vessels). This capillary blockage reduces blood to the brain and muscles and impairs muscular coordination, mental activity, and judgment. In competitive sports, alcohol is known to interfere significantly with athletic performance. Alcohol also impairs the operation of a motor vehicle, even the day after alcohol has been consumed.

2. Brain damage
As alcohol directly damages brain cells, its consumption affects the learning process. Injured brain cells are unable to form a protein material needed for the elaboration of "memory particles." Memory is further decreased because alcohol interferes with dream time. While you dream, knowledge and experiences are stored away as memory. Alcohol injures nerves making them less able to respond to stimuli. It has been estimated that each time one becomes intoxicated about 10,000 brain cells are lost. As we have many billions of brain cells, it takes many years of alcohol consumption before the loss of mental capacity becomes apparent.

3. Fetal damage
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy affects the developing fetus. The development of the brain is severely affected. Various other tissues, such as the facial bones, eyes, teeth, and skin may also be affected. Even small amounts of alcohol can result in observable deficiencies in the child.

4. Digestive track and liver damage
Alcohol consumption, especially chronic use, increases the risk for many diseases of the digestive tract, including esophagitis, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colon disease, and rectal cancer. The liver is at particular high risk of malfunction, even from social drinking. Alcohol increases the risk of cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Cirrhosis is the classic end-stage of liver damage from alcohol. Many of the ordinary functions of the liver are also altered, such as blood clotting, production of antibodies, and the preparation of raw products for the formation of a variety of essential hormones and chemicals for the body.

5. Cancer
Most people do not realize that alcohol use increases the risk of many different cancers, including cancer of the pancreas, stomach, liver, and breast. The more consumed, the greater the risk. Some studies have suggested a link between breast cancer in women and mild to moderate drinking.

6. Heart muscle injury
"Beer drinker's heart" is a common term used among physicians. Medical tests have shown definitive signs of heart muscle injury from consumption of a single ounce of 90-proof whiskey. Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to benefit coronary heart disease. However, it has also been shown that the same benefits can be derived from non-alcoholic sources. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin in 1997 showed that drinking three glasses of red grape juice also decreases "platelet stickiness," as with mild alcohol intake.

7. Impotence
Alcohol has long been thought to enhance libido and sexual prowess. This myth probably arose from its effect on judgment and inhibitions. However, chronic alcohol use has been shown to be a major cause of impotence and decreased libido.

8. 8. Other damage
Muscular strength gradually decreases among those who drink alcohol. Habitual drinking also reduces bone weight. By X-ray, an alcoholic may appear to be a decade or two older than his age because of loss of bone density. The pancreas is also specifically damaged, making diabetes, reactive hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, and other diseases of the pancreas more common among drinkers. Pancreatitis rarely occurs except in those who drink.

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