Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body

“A colorless volatile flammable liquid which is produced by the natural fermentation of sugars and is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks, and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel.” The effects of alcohol on the body can have a serious toll on the body, whether it’s just drinking too much on a single occasion or if it’s on a regular basis. There are so many different ways that it can affect you.

It causes immediate effects, short term effects, and long-term effects on the body that can be serious.

Alcohol is metabolized and broke down by your body at a rate of 0.016%. the main way that alcohol is broken drown is through and enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The unfortunate thing is that these enzymes take time to break the substance down and there is no way to speed them up. Kind of think of it like a crowd of people trying to get through a door, the door being the enzyme and the people being the alcohol molecule.

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The more people trying to get through the door the longer it is going to take, and at no point will another door appear to speed up the process.

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so, with that being said it is nice that we are able to measure the rate at which alcohol is broken down because we are able to be precise as to when the alcohol will be completely gone from one’s system.

With this being said people always are trying to come up with methods to try and speed up the process. you hear about theories all the time like exercising, eating fatty foods, or drinking water but none of these will actually work. The only full proof method of sobering up is to wait it out. With that being said there are a few things that can speed up the process of metabolizing the alcohol but none of them have to do with post drunk methods. One way that the process can be sped up is through abusing the substance. Heavy drinkers have a slightly higher metabolism rate because the body actually will create a new and different enzyme that will help speed up the process. it would be like creating a new door for people to go through speeding up the process. one practical way to speed up the process is when the individual has a full stomach before they start drinking. It is believed that this helps speed it up because the food in the digestive system could help increase blood flow to the liver and increase activity through the enzyme.

Now let’s talk about a person’s blood alcohol content or BAC for short. BAC is a measurement for how much alcohol is inside a person’s blood. This is the blood that is traveling to all organs of your body, including your brain, which is why we get a sensation from drinking alcohol. There are many factors that can affect a person BAC. These factors include gender, weight, how much alcohol was consumed, and how quickly that person consumed it in. as explained previously your body can only metabolize alcohol at a certain rate, therefore the more you drink in a quick period of time the more alcohol you have flowing through your veins. And the more alcohol you have flowing through your veins the higher your BAC is going to be. Your BAC also closely relates to how drunk one will feel. This can be slightly different for heavy drinkers where they will require a higher-level BAC to achieve the same feelings. Your BAC will also by 0.016% every hour as that’s the rate at which it metabolizes.

The short-term effects of alcohol can be pretty apparent and already known but let’s go over them. alcohol will affect your brain and its function right of the bat. alcohol impairs the brains thought process and it ability to control the body, or muscle coordination. this means that it affects your brains judgment, inhibitions, and concentration within can lead to drowsiness and even going into a coma. it also affects your brains ability to remember periods of time due to the fact that the alcohol gets in the way of the brain being able to lay down memories. it can also affect your mood and mental state. alcohol can cause you to go through mood swing from being happy, to sad, to angry. a person can also form a dependence from alcohol if that person is using it to ease their stress or forget about their problems.

Some immediate effects are apparent in the kidneys as well. since alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss through the kidneys, it can really dehydrate a person. through this dehydration process you also lose many important vitamins and minerals that the body needs. low levels of these certain materials in the body can lead to things like seizures or irregular heartbeats.

While you are drinking and when you become drunk you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, which is inflammations of the lungs usually due to bacteria. the reason that the risk is greater is because when an individual is intoxicated their mouth and throat relaxes, and their gag reflex is lessened. this makes it so liquid like spit and vomit can go down into the lungs. the alcohol also reduces the ability of the lungs to be able to clear all the mucus and waste leading to an infection in the lungs.

As previously mentioned he brain is immediately effected by alcohol, well this can also lead to effects to the persons physical body. due to the cloudy state of mind the person can be in, they can make some questionable decisions that could injure themselves. for example, when a drunk person wreaks a car, decides to get into a fight, or whether it’s just being clumsy and falling over.

Those were all examples of short term effects, the long-term effects of it can be even more serious. Let’s start off with the brain. Over long periods of use, where the drinker is abusing alcohol, it can damage parts of the brain that are responsible for balance and coordination. This would lead to walking and instability problems. in other rarer cases, it can damage specific centers of the brain which would lead to many other problems. it can lead to loss of mental function, not being able to walk, development of epilepsy, or sleeping problems. finally, it can increase the risk of having a stroke. This is a little iffy though because with moderate use it can decrease your risk of having a stroke, but consistent heavy drinking will increase your risk.

These long-term effects can have serious problems with the heart and blood pressure. Heavy drinking increases of coronary artery disease. There is also a connection between heavy drinking and sudden death from heart failure, chronic diseases of the heart, and irregular heartbeats. There is also a link between heavy drinking and high blood pressure, this is especially true in men. It can be seen that one’s blood pressure increases when the individual has more than two or three drinks a day.

Heavy drinking takes a toll on your liver as well. It can lead to livers diseases such as fatty liver, to acute alcoholic hepatitis, to cirrhosis. Fatty liver is where there is a build of fat in the cell of the liver. This can easily be reduced through reduction of drinking. Alcoholic hepatitis is an injury to the liver that can present problems in other parts of your body. if it is server enough it can cause death. cirrhosis is where the liver is permanently damaged and the tissues are replaced with scar tissue. What this causes is the liver is no longer able to function properly with removing waste from your system.

This isn’t a complete list of all the way alcohol can affect you in a long or short-term period of time, but this is a pretty good list coving some of the more important ones. All and all alcohol take a toll on a person’s body when it is abused and not done on moderation. Some of them are more serious than others but no matter what it does something.

  • http://www.drinkfox.com/information/alcohol-metabolism
  • https://www.csbsju.edu/chp/health-promotion/alcohol-guide/understanding-blood-alcohol-content-(bac)
  • https://www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-its-effects/body-effects/effects-on-the-body

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Effects of Alcohol on the Human Body. (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/effects-of-alcohol-on-the-human-body-essay

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