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How Drinking Affects Your Body- Zero Alcohol Day 2019

Exactly what toll does drinking take on your body? Learn more in this article.

The World Health Organisation sets aside the second day of October each year to call attention to problems caused by alcohol abuse and ways to reduce those problems. Alcohol is the world's third-leading cause of poor health.

Its impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip as the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer or spirits can take its toll on the body. A glass a day may do little damage to your overall health. But if the habit grows or if you find yourself having a hard time stopping after just one glass, the cumulative effects can add up. Here are some of the side effects of alcohol intake.

Alcohol intake increases the risk of chronic liver diseases and scarring of the liver (liver cirrhosis). As the liver becomes increasingly damaged, it has a harder time removing toxic substances from the body which in turn causes buildup of waste and toxins in the body.

Low blood sugar: When your pancreas and liver are damaged as a result of alcohol intake, you run a risk of experiencing low blood sugar, what is medically called  hypoglycaemia. A damaged pancreas may prevent the body from producing enough insulin to accumulate sugar.

Damage to the central nervous system: Slurred speech is one of the first signs you have had too much. As alcohol causes more damage to your central nervous system, you may experience numbness  and tingling sensations in your feet and hands and difficulty for your brain to create long term memories.

Severe alcohol abuse can also cause permanent brain damage leading to WERNICKE-KORSAKOFF SYNDROME, a brain disorder that affects memory.

Increased risk of heart diseases: People who are chronic drinkers have a higher risk of heart-related diseases than people who do not drink. Complications as a result of alcohol intake are; high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure among others.

Other complications of alcohol intake include erectile dysfunction,/greater risk of infertility, premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, increased risk of several types of cancer including mouth, breast and colon.

Having learnt about the harmful effects of alcohol, you could start a no-alcohol resolution from today or join support groups that help people with alcohol addiction.

Written for Hellocare by Dr Muinah Olagunju