The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.
If you have ever seen a person who has had too much to drink, you know that alcohol is a drug that can have widespread effects on your body. In 1997, Americans drank an average of 2 gallons (7.57 liters) of alcohol per person per week and if you consider that about 35 percent of adults don’t drink, this number is actually higher for those who do.
In order to understand alcohol’s effects on your body, it is helpful to understand what alcohol is.
Alcohol is a clear liquid at room temperature.
Alcohol is less dense and evaporates at a lower temperature than water (this property allows it to be distilled — by heating a water and alcohol mixture, the alcohol evaporates first).
Alcohol dissolves easily in water.
Alcohol is flammable (so flammable that it can be used as a fuel).
You will not find pure alcohol in most drinks; drinking pure alcohol can be deadly because it only takes a few ounces of pure alcohol to quickly raise the blood alcohol level into the danger zone. Alcohol is a TOXIN. When you drink alcohol, about 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and the other 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine. How fast the alcohol is absorbed depends upon several things:
The concentration of alcohol in the beverage – The greater the concentration, the faster the absorption.
The type of drink – Carbonated beverages tend to speed up the absorption of alcohol. Whether the stomach is full or empty – Food slows down alcohol absorption.
After being absorbed, the alcohol enters your bloodstream and dissolves in the water of your blood. Your blood then carries the alcohol throughout your body. The alcohol from the blood then enters and dissolves in the water inside each tissue of your body, except fat tissue because alcohol cannot dissolve in fat. Once inside your tissues, alcohol exerts its effects on you and your body.
The alcohol will then leave your body in three ways:
Your kidney eliminates 5 percent of alcohol in the urine.
Your lungs exhale 5 percent of alcohol, which can be detected by breathalyser devices. You liver chemically breaks down the remaining alcohol into acetic acid.
As a rule of thumb, an average person can eliminate 0.5 oz (15 ml) of alcohol per hour. So, it would take you approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol from a 12 oz (355 ml) can of beer.
When you compare men and women of the same height, weight and build, men tend to have more muscle and less fat than women. Since muscle tissue has more water than fat tissue, the alcohol will be diluted more in a man than in a woman. Therefore, the blood alcohol concentration resulting from a drink will be higher in a woman than in a man. The result is that a woman will feel the effects of that drink sooner than the man will.
Now since your body can only eliminate about one drink per hour, drinking several drinks in an hour will increase your Blood Alcohol content or BAC. If you have seen someone who has had too much to drink, you’ve probably noticed a definite change in that person’s performance and behavior. Your body responds to alcohol in stages, and these stages are directly linked to the BAC of your body.
Euphoria (BAC = 0.03 to 0.12 percent)
you become more self-confident or daring
your attention span shortens
you may look flushed
your judgment is not as good – and you may say the first thought that comes to mind, rather than an appropriate comment for the given situation.
You will have trouble with fine movements, such as writing or signing your name.
Excitement (BAC = 0.09 to 0.25)
you will become sleepy
you will have trouble understanding or remembering things (even recent events)
you do not react to situations as quickly (if you spill a drink you may just stare at it.
your body movements are uncoordinated
you begin to lose your balance easily
your vision becomes blurry
you may have trouble sensing things (hearing, tasting, feeling, etc..)
Confusion (BAC = 0.18 to 0.30)
you get confused – might not know where you are or what you are doing
you get dizzy and may stagger
you may become highly emotional – aggressive, withdrawn or overly affectionate.
you cannot see clearly
you become sleepy
your speech becomes slurred
you have uncoordinated movements (trouble catching an object)
You may not feel pain as readily as a sober person
Stupor (BAC = 0.25 to 0.4)
you can barely move
you cannot respond to stimuli
you cannot stand or walk
you may vomit
you may lapse in and out of consciousness)
Coma (BAC = 0.35 to 0.50)
you are unconscious
your reflexes are depressed and your pupils do not respond appropriately to changes in light
you feel cool
your breathing is slower and more shallow
your heart rate may slow
you may die
Death (BAC more than 0.50)
you will usually stop breathing and die
All of alcohol’s effects will continue until your body eliminates all of the alcohol.
Approximately 8 percent of people aged 18 and older suffer from alcohol abuse and/or dependence. This abuse or dependence costs upwards of $1.7 billion in medical treatment, lost earnings, casualty damages and criminal/legal costs per year.
Your body can also increase its tolerance it has to alcohol by increasing the level of your liver’s enzymes that are used to break down alcohol and increase the activity of brain and nervous system neurons. This means that your body becomes more efficient in eliminating the high levels of alcohol in your blood, and with the increased nerve activity, this helps some to function normally with higher then normal BAC levels. This also makes you irritable when you are not drinking. The increased nerve activity may also make you crave alcohol. It also means that you must drink more alcohol to experience the same effects as before, which leads to more drinking and contributes to addiction. These bodily adaptations change a person’s behavior. The increased nerve activity also contributes to hallucinations and convulsions when alcohol is withdrawn, and makes it difficult to overcome alcohol abuse and dependence.
There are also many other adverse physical effects that result from long-term exposure to alcohol: The increased activity in your liver causes cell death and hardening of the tissue (cirrhosis of the liver).
Your brain cells in various centers die, thereby reducing your total brain mass.
Stomach and intestinal ulcers can form because the constant alcohol use irritates and degrades the linings of these organs.
Blood pressure increases as your heart compensates for the initially reduced blood pressure caused by alcohol.
Sperm production decreases because of decreased sex-hormone secretion from the hypothalamus/pituitary and, possibly, direct effects of alcohol on the testes.
Poor nutritionVitamin B leading to anemia.
Alcoholics also lose their balance and fall more often suffering bruises and broken bones, especially as they get older.
Alcohol abuse and dependence can cause emotional and social problems. The emotional and physical effects of alcohol can contribute to marital and family problems, including domestic violence, as well as work-related problems, such as excessive absences and poor performance.
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