Some people drink alcohol occasionally or socially during special dinners or cocktails. Others use it to steady their nerves before making that very important speech or scheduled public appearance. Still, others who are suffering from a sleep disorder drink a generous amount of alcohol to get themselves that much-needed rest and sleep. So, who says that alcohol is bad? Even the Bible agrees with its medicinal properties as cited in the Old and New Testaments no less that 191 times.
We all know that alcohol is a by-product of fruits, grains or vegetables through a process called fermentation. It makes use of yeast or bacteria to change the sugars in the food into alcohol which may come in different forms for purposes of cleaning, as antiseptic, and as a depressant or sedative.
Studies show that moderate drinkers tend to live longer and are less likely to suffer heart stroke than those who either abstain or drink heavily. While it is true that moderate alcohol intake offers some benefits such as longevity and healthier life, too much consumption can offset all these potential benefits which could lead to serious health conditions such as liver disease, heart attack, pancreatitis, brain atrophy, or miscarriage, among others. These conflicting information should not confuse anyone. Indeed, for every benefit of alcohol consumption entails a counterpart risk one must take into consideration.
Moderate alcohol drinking standard is about two drinks a day if you’re a male under 65 years old, or one drink a day if you’re over 65 regardless whether you’re a male or female. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces (oz.) of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits. The older the person becomes, the slower the ability to break down alcohol. This is why adults become more intoxicated more quickly as well as more prone to alcohol’s harmful side effects.
Certain health conditions can be made worse by drinking any amount of alcohol. Those who have history of a hemorrhagic stroke, liver disease, pancreatic disease and those with evidence of pre-cancerous stages in the esophagus, larynx, pharynx, or mouth must never take any alcohol. People with a family history of alcoholism are at higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. Most importantly, women must avoid alcohol drinks at all cost during pregnancy as this will put the unborn baby at health risks.
Moreover, alcohol intake may interact with over-the-counter sleeping pills, antibiotics, antidepressants, pain relievers, diabetes medications, antihistamines, anticoagulants, anti-seizure medications and beta blockers among other many common prescription medications.
Aspirin combined with alcohol increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding while alcohol’s effect on acetaminophen may cause some liver damage. The Food and Drug Administration requires all over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers to carry a warning label advising those who consume three or more alcohol drinks a day to consult with their physicians first before taking the drug.
Drinking alcohol can help a person feel a little bit relaxed or anxious because alcohol is a depressant. It slows the function of the central nervous system and blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain, affecting perception, emotion, movement, vision, hearing. Too much alcohol consumption will result in intoxication, making a person lose coordination of movement and affect even coherence of speech. They become disoriented and show changes in their usual behavioral. Depending on the individual’s tolerance level of alcohol, intoxication can make a person very friendly, talkative, aggressive or violent. It also slows down a person’s reflexes and reactions making driving a dangerous activity for someone who is intoxicated.
There is extreme danger when large amounts of alcohol is consumed over a short period of time. When a person begins to vomit violently and experiences extreme sleepiness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, alarmingly low blood sugar, and seizures — these can be signs of extreme intoxication. When the body has become poisoned by too much alcohol, even death may occur.
Some people may not realize it but too much alcohol, like drug use, can develop into abuse and even addiction which may become a problem for them and those around them. Without you knowing it, you may have been influencing even the young people to use alcohol when they are not yet of age. In spite of it being illegal to purchase alcohol when a person is below 21 years old, still, teens can easily get access to it in different ways.
To drink or not to drink alcohol is a question only you and your physician can answer. Very few health care professionals would advise non-drinkers to drink alcohol for the sake of a healthier condition. However, if you are a moderate drinker and manage to maintain great health, there is no pressure to stop but always remember to drink responsibly. Cheers!