April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. How much do you know about alcohol and its interactions with the body? Responsible alcohol use is paramount for health. According to the Global Burden of Diseases study, which analyzed levels of alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries from 1990 to 2016, no amount of alcohol use is safe. Experts say that about five percent of cancers are linked to alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends women limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day and men two drinks per day. Learn more about how alcohol interacts with your body.
Alcohol by the Numbers
“Based on per capita consumption from alcoholic beverage sales data, the average American drinks roughly 1.35 drinks per day, 9.5 drinks per week and 494 drinks per year,” Aaron White, senior scientific advisor to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) director told USA Today.
Alcohol and Your Body
Once alcohol enters your system, it causes immediate physiological changes in your brain, heart, and liver–among other organs. Did you know that alcohol is a depressant? It slows down your brain activity, Healthline reports.
The popularity of alcohol use is because of the chemical response it causes on your brain/body. Alcohol prompts your body to release the neurotransmitter, dopamine which causes pleasure and satisfaction. It also triggers the increase of another neurotransmitter called GABA which can help alleviate stress.
Because of some of these positive reactions to alcohol, and the social constructs surrounding its use, it is highly addictive. Healthline reports that, “Alcohol is among the most commonly misused addictive substances. About 12.7 percent of American adults meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD). That’s 1 in 8 adults.”
People react differently to different amounts of alcohol based on genetics, gender, age, and body composition. As a matter of fact, muscles absorb alcohol faster than fat so people who have more muscle to body fat have higher alcohol tolerance.
Long-Term Health Issues from Prolonged Alcohol Use
The long-term consequences of chronic alcohol use are substantial and should be considered when thinking of your overall wellness now and in your golden years.
“Drinking too much in one sitting can cause acute harm to the body, but drinking too much over time can cause chronic physical and mental health issues. Liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are the most dangerous long-term side effects from heavy drinking; however, struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction can also trigger mental illness,” Alcohol.org said.
Drinking alcohol augments your risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast, the NIAAA said.
Alcohol use is a significant risk factor for dementia.
If you are a current alcohol user, help us determine if your use habits threaten your current or future way of life with an in-office consultation and health screening. Learn more below!
Call for an Adult Health Screening Today
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Your Adult Health Screening will include:
- One 90 minute visit with the Nutritionist to review lab work and create a personalized diet and lifestyle plan
- One body composition measurement
- Aggressive cardiovascular risk screening: extended lipid panels looking at LDL particle numbers and size, oxidated stress markers
- Inflammatory markers
- Genetic markers
- Vitamin D, B12, Folate, Omega 3
- Complete hormonal evaluation: extensive thyroid, adrenal, sex hormone and insulin
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