It’s summer and barbecue season is finally here. One of the things that we enjoy with our juicy steak is a nice cold one, a glass of wine, or even a mixed drink. When the sun is blazing, there’s nothing better than a cool drink to quench our thirst and cool us off, right? While it may sound inviting, no one really thinks about the damaging effects on our bodies. As it turns out, alcohol does a number on your body.
One of the first physical effects indicating that alcohol is in your system is the change in behavior. Alcohol can travel fast, especially if you’re not used to drinking. It can reach your brain and other parts of your central nervous system. This is what causes slurred speech, and lack of balance and coordination.
We’ve all heard that a glass of red wine can prevent heart disease, but too much alcohol can have damaging effects to your heart. It can lead to the stretching and drooping or cardiovascular muscles, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. Eventually, heavy drinking can lead to stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
The liver has the job of breaking down harmful substances, but excessive drinking can cause chronic liver inflammation, which can lead to a fatty liver and cirrhosis of the liver. When the liver doesn’t do its job of breaking down substances, then those toxic substances stay in your body and this can be life-threatening. Women’s bodies tend to absorb more alcohol and take longer to process it, so they’re at a higher risk for alcoholic liver disease.
The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that combined with bile from the gallbladder can help digestion. It also helps regulate insulin and glucose, so excessive alcohol can cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can interfere with the ability to aid digestion and regulate metabolism. This can cause damage to the digestive system and give you gas, abdominal fullness, and diarrhea.
Most people reach peak bone mass by the age of 30, after that you start losing bone mass if you don’t take calcium, exercise, and limit your alcohol use. Long-term alcohol use makes it harder to produce new bone and puts you at risk for osteoporosis, your bones are more prone to weakness, cramps, and atrophy.