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TOXIC EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL IN THE BODY


Alcohol slows down the function of all living cells, especially those in the brain. It does not need to be digested after being consumed rather it moves with a very great speed through the body affecting every tissue and organ. It quickly appears in the blood stream, and its intoxicating effects such as the production of false feeling of pleasure and a lack of control are felt within a few minutes. Immediately the body tries to get rid of it. The alcohol is absorbed through the stomach to the small intestine, directly into the bloodstream where it proceeds to the liver which metabolizes it. When it is consumed at a faster rate than the body mechanism can handle, it accumulates in the bloodstream and is distributed through the body.                                               
The higher the concentration of alcohol, the greater the disturbance it has on the body cells. This can lead to a severe disruption of function and death. Regular drinking increases a person’s tolerance for alcohol. More is needed to feel the same effects. The single drink which once produced a feeling of relaxation is soon increased to two, three, and so on. Gradually, you move from drinking for pleasure to dependence. The body tries to adapt to chronic alcohol use, while the cell work harder to get rid of it. After a while, the body can no longer maintain equilibrium   which results to the dysfunction and permanent damage of many organs. Medically speaking, there is no possible benefit which can be derived from the use of alcohol internally, but rather it causes a lot of toxic effects in the cells and organs of the body.
Some of the toxic effects alcohol has on;

The liver: the liver which performs most of the work of metabolizing alcohol bears the brunt of its effects. Even in a moderate drinker, continuous low grade dysfunction after some years can lead to the irreversible scaring and destruction of the liver known as cirrhosis of the liver. As the liver becomes damaged, its ability to metabolize alcohol becomes drastically reduced. The liver begins to accumulate fats which lead to further malfunction thereby increasing the 
risk of other diseases such as hepatitis.

The heart: Alcohol has a direct and drastic effect on the heart muscle cells thereby making the heart inefficient to pump. Alcohol can influence the risk factors for coronary heart disease by decreasing blood flow in coronary arteries. It contains many calories and can elevate fat levels in the blood. This can cause obesity, hypertension and can increase the chances of heart disease.

The brain: The brain is the most sensitive organ to alcohol and its effects on the brain are the most noticeable. It affects the cerebrum which is the outermost layer responsible for controlling the senses, speech understanding and judgment. Also, it depresses the part of the brain that normally inhibits or control actions and emotions. Once these higher centers of the brain are knocked out, the drinker feels liberated from moral and legal restrictions. The alcohol continues to depress the brain functions resulting in slurred speech, unsteady walk, blurry vision and loss of co-ordination. Alcohol destroys brain cells which are irreplaceable, affects the memory and the ability to learn new things as well.

The digestive system: Alcohol has no nutritive value other than calories called ‘empty calories’, because of the body’s inability to store them. Alcohol drinks can be fattening due to its calorie content. The gastrointestinal system is irritated and damaged by alcohol, thus making it less able to absorb nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition.


The reproductive system: The drinking of alcohol by a pregnant woman causes its distribution throughout her body and the body of her unborn child. Alcohol causes irreparable damage to the developing baby due to the baby’s sensitivity to toxic substances. It interferes with the flow of oxygen to the fetus and can result to; smaller babies, birth defect, miscarriage, facial deformities, limb and cardiovascular defects, retarded growth, behavioral difficulties and brain impairment.