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5 Negative Effects Alcohol Has on the Body

the moment you take that first sip, alcohol begins to take a toll on the body.
Even after it’s left your system, it can still have a lasting impact on your
health. And while alcohol consumed in moderation might not have severe side
effects, it definitely does make a difference.

If you
drink alcohol-free wine, you may have already committed to living an
alcohol-free lifestyle. Or, perhaps it’s just the season of life you’re in, and
you still feel comfortable drinking alcohol on other occasions. No matter where
you’re at with alcohol or what your reasoning is, being informed about
alcohol’s effects on the body is never a bad idea. We all see alcohol in
stores, watch it being consumed through media and probably have consumed it
ourselves or know someone close to us who has.

exactly does alcohol
do to us? What
effects does it have on our bodies? Turns out, not very good ones. According to
National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
, “Drinking too much—on a single occasion or over
time—can take a serious toll on your health.” To simplify things, we’ve
compiled a list of five negative effects alcohol has on the body. Let’s dive in
and learn about why an alcohol-free lifestyle just might be the best choice.

1. Brain function damage.

When we
consume alcohol, it interferes with the brain’s communication pathways,
affecting how the brain looks and works. In fact, alcohol can cause a
significant amount of damage to the brain through even a short period of time.
For example, those “blackout” moments you might have from a night of intense
drinking? Those are a form of temporary amnesia. For heavy drinkers, a more
intense development could be
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a seizure disorder that
affects memory, vision and speech.

alcohol also releases excess
GABA and dopamine; while GABA is responsible
for calming the brain down, dopamine triggers pleasure in the brain. Too much
of these neurotransmitters can cause shortness of breath, high blood pressure,
increased heart rate, night terrors, delusions, hallucinations, spasms and
increased levels of aggression and depression.

2. Pancreatitis.

consumption affects almost every part of our bodies, including the pancreas.
Drinking too much can cause abnormal activation of toxic digestive enzymes
produced by pancreas. When these enzymes build up, they can lead to
inflammation known as
pancreatitis. Pancreatitis causes
swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas, which prevents proper digestion
in the future.

3. Liver inflammation.

might come as no surprise to you that alcohol takes a serious toll on the
body’s liver. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, where it’s turned into
acetaldehyde. Excess drinking causes the liver to accumulate fat, which often
leads to fatty liver disease. When a liver is clogged with fat, it can’t
perform at an efficient level, which then affects the rest of the body. If the
fatty liver disease isn’t handled properly, it can lead to inflammation within
the liver, or alcoholic hepatitis, which can cause enlargement, scarring or
cirrhosis (liver cells are so damaged they cannot regenerate) and ultimately
liver cancer.

alcohol inflames the liver cells, it can also cause swelling to trap or inhibit normal bile flow. If bile begins to build up within the liver,
jaundice could set in. Jaundice
occurs when a red blood cell breakdown pigment, normally excreted in bile, is
reabsorbed in the blood and deposited abnormally in other body tissues. This
results in a yellowing color of the skin and eyes, signifying end-stage liver

4. Central nervous system influence.

alcohol influences communication patterns between your brain and your body, it
also significantly affects your central nervous system. This causes short-term
effects such as slurred speech, blurred vision, weakened muscles, decreased
reaction time and impaired memory. If used excessively, alcohol consumption can
also lead to neuropathy, a condition which causes alternating feelings of
weakness, burning, pain and numbness in the hands and feet.

5. Chronic heart failure.

light, short-term drinking causes inflammation of the heart’s walls, it’s
long-term drinking and shorter-term binge drinking that have the worst effects.
Drinking negatively affects the heart rate, disrupting its rhythm by causing it
to speed up or beat irregularly. Even worse, heavy drinking can also lead to
cardiomyopathy, or the stretching and
drooping of the heart muscle. This condition causes heart muscles to weaken
from repeated toxic exposure to alcohol over time—or far too much alcohol in a
short period of time.

heart’s pumping becomes less and less efficient and reduces its effectiveness
at sending blood throughout the body, which harms various organs by depriving
them of blood. Because alcohol raises blood pressure and blood lipids, this
also increases the risk of heart attack, hypertension, high cholesterol and

alcohol consumption might be enjoyable or even beneficial at times, it brings
with it a significant amount of risks worth consideration. If you want to avoid
these risks, consider reducing your alcohol consumption or going alcohol-free
altogether. Whatever fits best into your lifestyle, relax and have fun while
making safe and healthy choices for your body.