After a hard long week at work most of us want to unwind, meet friends, sip a few drinks and end our week on a HIGH note.
While we have a good weekend, our body has a real bad one.
Find out how each drink affects our body and it's functioning.
Yes, it's true - alcohol affects us differently, depending on our size, gender, how quickly we drink, whether on an empty stomach and other personal factors like mood etc..
(So never match up to your friend's pace - your body is different)
Alcohol absorption, distribution and elimination (body considers it as waste) are processes that begin shortly after you take a drink.
As it is absorbed, the alcohol is rapidly distributed in the body through the bloodstream. Major organs, such as the liver, kidneys, lungs and brain, absorb more alcohol.
Within a few minutes of taking a drink, alcohol reaches the body's organs though your blood.
The body can't store alcohol – it's the liver's job to break it down ('metabolise' it).
The liver can only metabolise a limited amount of alcohol at a time. If you drink too much, the liver's store of glutathione runs out, leaving the toxic acetaldehyde to build up in the body. When this happens, the additional alcohol remains in your body tissues and bloodstream until your liver can process it.
It can take 3 hrs to remove the alcohol from just one drink (30ml) from your system
The more you drink, the longer it will take. There's nothing you can do to speed up the rate of metabolism.
Thousands die of liver Cirrhosis every month (due to alcohol consumption)
Kidneys filter our blood – all our blood will be filtered about 20 times a day. The kidneys also work to keep the volume of water in your body constant. Alcohol is a diuretic. If you drink too much, your body ends up eliminating more water than it absorbs – and as a result, you can become dehydrated, with dizziness and a headache (in other words, a hangover).
Prolonged heavy drinking can cause kidney failure.
About 5% of the alcohol is eliminated from our body in our breath as we exhale.
When the alcohol in the bloodstream reaches the lungs, some of it passes into the lungs' air sacs and then evaporates into the air. It is then exhaled and eliminated from the body.
This is the alcohol detected by breathalysers and that can be smelled on ones breath
Alcohol affects nerve cells in the brain. This means it interferes with how the cells function and how the brain communicates with all other parts of the body.
Alcohol acts on the central nervous system, affecting emotional and sensory function, judgment, memory and learning ability.
Different parts of the brain control different processes. Alcohol affects each of these areas.
The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses; it also controls how you think and the movement of your muscles. When alcohol affects the cerebral cortex, you take longer to process information from your senses, become less inhibited and don't think as clearly.
The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls memory and your emotions. When it is affected by alcohol, your emotions become exaggerated – for example, you could get more giddy, sad, or upset – and you start to forget things.
The cerebellum coordinates fine muscle movements, including the muscles that help you keep your balance. As alcohol affects the cerebellum, you can become shaky and uncoordinated and unsteady on your feet
The hypothalamus controls sexual arousal and performance. When it is affected by alcohol, sexual arousal increases, but performance decreases.
The brain stem controls automatic body functions such as breathing, heart rate and consciousness. When alcohol reaches the brain stem, you become sleepy and, depending on how much alcohol you drink, you may even lose consciousness. As the concentration of alcohol in your blood increases, it may affect your heart rate, breathing and consciousness and can even lead to death
1. If you have 4 large drinks – your liver works for at least 24 hours continuously, removing alcohol from your system.
2. On a typical weekend, one would give more work to one’s liver before it has finished its previous day’s task of eliminating alcohol.
3. Alcohol damages the cells lining the stomach and intestines – That’s what screws your digestion the next day.
4. Alcohol leads to impotency and/or infertility in men and menstrual irregularities and infertility in women.
I know you won’t give up or even reduce drinking after reading this but do ensure you do the following:
- Keep your drinks SMALL and no NEAT
- Sip slowly and enjoy your drink: no BOTTOMS UP
- Have a glass of water after every drink – this MAY help liver in some way
- Don’t compete with others : drink at your own pace
- DO NOT drive after drinking: you don’t want it to be your last drink, do you?
Source: various websites and my own experience!