The Effects Of Alcohol On The Body

Alcohol use can cause physical side effects such as ulcers, high blood pressure, upset stomach, frequent urination, and changes in body temperature. Over time, the effects of alcohol on your body can lead to serious health problems.

In the short term, drinking alcohol can cause nausea, frequent urination, changes in heart rate, and other side effects. In the long term, alcohol use can increase your risk of health problems in your stomach, liver, heart, and other parts of the body.

The effects of alcohol consumption on your body may depend on the amount of alcohol you drink. Forms of excessive drinking, including binge drinking and heavy drinking, can increase your risk of alcohol-related health problems.

In Ohio, heavy alcohol consumption is common among all age groups and backgrounds. Heavy drinking can increase your risk of serious long-term side effects.

How Alcohol Affects The Body

Alcohol affects your body through the central nervous system and slows down brain activity. Reduced brain activity can slow down, or inhibit, other bodily functions, such as your blood flow and digestion.

Alcohol also affects your body as it is digested. Alcohol passes through the esophagus, liver, small intestine, and your bloodstream as it is broken down. Over time, alcohol can cause health problems in these parts of the body.

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Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Use On The Body

When you have an alcoholic drink, you may feel the effects of alcohol consumption in various parts of your body, including:

  • impaired judgment
  • slow reaction time
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • mood changes
  • frequent urination
  • changes in body temperature
  • drowsiness
  • upset stomach
  • changes in heart rate

A higher alcohol intake can lead to stronger side effects.

Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol Use On The Body

Your risk of alcohol-related health problems may be related to your alcohol intake. If you drink moderately (less than 1 to 2 standard drinks per day), your risk of health problems may be lower compared to drinking heavily (more than 8 to 15 standard drinks per week).

Other factors, such as your age, gender, and preexisting health conditions, can also affect your risk of alcohol-related health problems.

Cardiovascular Problems

Alcohol use has been linked to cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, heart disease, and stroke. Over time, alcohol can narrow your blood vessels and strain your heart muscle, which can lead to heart-related problems.

Immune System

Drinking alcohol can affect your body’s ability to fight infections. According to the NIAAA, people who drink heavily may be at an increased risk of infections, such as pneumonia. A weakened immune system can put your health at risk in the long term.

Digestive System

Alcohol can cause health problems as it is broken down by your digestive system. Your risk of ulcers, diarrhea, acid reflux, and other long-term digestive issues may increase when you drink alcohol regularly.

Liver Disease

Alcohol may be broken down, or metabolized, by the liver. Over time, your alcohol intake can damage your liver, leading to problems such as fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Alcohol-related liver problems may present with few side effects at first. If you drink alcohol regularly, you can talk to your Ohio doctor to find out about your health risk.

Increased Cancer Risk

Excessive alcohol use may be linked to an increased risk of various types of cancer, including liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and throat cancer.

According to a 2009 study from the NIAAA, alcohol caused about 3.5 percent of cancer-related deaths in Americans. Alcohol consumption has likely increased nationwide and in Ohio since this study was performed.

Alcohol & The Brain

Long-term alcohol use can increase your risk of stroke and has been linked to long-term memory loss, coordination, and concentration.

Drinking alcohol is also habit-forming. 

If you drink alcoholic beverages, you may develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD), a mental health condition where you need alcohol to function. An AUD can cause alcohol dependence and withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to additional health problems.

If you or a loved one have alcohol-related health problems and cannot stop drinking, help is available. 

To learn about our alcohol abuse treatment options, such as medical detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and other personalized treatment plans, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Current Neurovascular Research
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: October 19, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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