It is Well Established That Alcohol

It is Well Established That Alcohol

What harm does booze exercise to our bodies?

Past Philippa Roxby

Health reporter, BBC News

Alcoholic drinks

Nosotros know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for the states. It gives usa hangovers, makes us feel tired and does little for our appearance – and that is just the morning later on.

Long term, it increases the risk of developing a long list of wellness atmospheric condition including chest cancer, oral cancers, heart disease, strokes and cirrhosis of the liver.

Enquiry shows that a high alcohol intake can also damage our mental health, impair memory skills and reduce fertility.

The directly link between booze and the liver is well understood – but what about the impact of alcohol on other organs?

Numerous centre studies suggest that moderate alcohol consumption helps protect against heart disease by raising good cholesterol and stopping the formation of blood clots in the arteries.


However, drinking more than than 3 drinks a day has been found to have a straight and damaging upshot on the heart. Heavy drinking, particularly over fourth dimension, tin can pb to high blood pressure level, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and stroke. Heavy drinking also puts more than fat into the circulation of the body.

The link between booze and cancer is well established, says Cancer Research UK. A study published in the BMJ this twelvemonth estimated that alcohol consumption causes at least xiii,000 cancer cases in the UK each year – about 9,000 cases in men and 4,000 in women.

Cancer experts say that for every additional 10g per day of alcohol drunkard, the gamble of breast cancer increases by approximately 7-12%.

A recent written report in BioMed Cardinal’due south Immunology periodical found that booze impairs the body’southward power to fight off viral infections.

And studies on fertility suggest that even light drinking can make women less likely to conceive while heavy drinking in men tin lower sperm quality and quantity.

Why alcohol has this negative issue on all elements of our wellness could exist down to acetaldehyde – the product alcohol is broken down into in the torso.

Acetaldehyde is toxic and has been shown to damage DNA.

Dr KJ Patel, from the Medical Research Council’due south laboratory of molecular biology in Cambridge, recently completed a study into the toxic effects of booze on mice.

His research implies that a unmarried rampage-drinking dose of alcohol during pregnancy may be sufficient to cause permanent damage to a baby’due south genome.

Foetal booze syndrome, he says, “tin can requite rise to children who are seriously damaged, born with head and facial abnormalities and mental disabilities”.

‘Clear dose relationship’

Alcohol is a well-established cancer causing agent, he says.

“Yous cannot get a cancer cell occurring unless Dna is altered. When you lot potable, the acetaldehyde is corrupting the Deoxyribonucleic acid of life and puts you on the route to cancer.

“1 of about common genetic defects in man is our inability to annul the toxicity of alcohol.”

Dr Nick Sheron, who runs the liver unit at Southampton General Infirmary, says the mechanisms past which alcohol does impairment are not quite so articulate cut.

With alcoholic liver illness, the greater the alcohol intake per week the greater the liver damage and that increases exponentially for someone drinking six to viii bottles or more of wine in that period, for instance.

Over the past 20 to 30 years, Dr Sheron says, deaths from liver disease have increased by 500%, with 85% of those due to alcohol. Only in the last few years has that ascension slowed down.

“Alcohol has a bigger impact than smoking on our wellness considering booze kills at a younger historic period. The boilerplate age of death for someone with alcoholic liver disease is their 40s.”

‘More harmful than heroin or fissure’

Alcohol is undoubtedly a public health issue too.

Earlier this year, NHS figures showed that alcohol-related hospital admissions has reached record levels in 2010. Over a 1000000 people were admitted in 2009-10, compared with 945,500 in 2008-09 and 510,800 in 2002-03. Virtually two in 3 of those cases were men.

At the same fourth dimension the clemency Booze Business organization predicted the number of admissions would reach i.5m a yr by 2015 and price the NHS £3.7bn a year.

Last yr, a study in The Lancet concluded that alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and gild are considered.

The study past the Independent Scientific Commission on Drugs also ranked booze as iii times more harmful than cocaine or tobacco because it is so widely used.

And then how much alcohol is too much? What can we safely drinkable?

Prototype caption,

Did you know? There are 16g of alcohol in a 175ml drinking glass of red or white wine.

But Paul Wallace, a GP and principal medical adviser of Drinkaware, says people are only not aware of the alcohol content of a big glass of wine.

“Most of us don’t realise what we’re drinking and y’all can very hands slip beyond acceptable limits.”

Katherine Brown, caput of inquiry at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, says the current guidelines and how they are communicated may be giving the public misleading information.

“We need to exist very conscientious when suggesting in that location is a ‘condom’ level of drinking for the population. Rather, nosotros need to explain that there are risks associated with alcohol consumption, and that the less y’all drink the lower your gamble is of developing wellness problems.

“We hope the regime utilise this every bit an opportunity to aid change perceptions about regular drinking being a normal, risk-free practice.”

Dr Wallace wants the government to practise a meliorate job on the message it sends out past explaining the booze guidelines in units per week, rather than per twenty-four hour period – no more than than 21 units for men, fourteen units for women per week.

Dr Sheron agrees: “There is no such thing as a rubber level, merely the authorities has got to describe a line somewhere. It’south a balance.

“People similar having a drink, just they have to accept there’s a adventure-benefit ratio.”

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It is Well Established That Alcohol