Wednesday, April 8 2020 - 9:34 AM
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Want a Drink?

Alcohol flows regularly in our society. We see beer at sporting events; wine in many restaurants to accompany a meal or even at events such as parties or family gatherings. Unfortunately, alcohol beverages may be associated with relaxing, fun and good times but it has a very dark side.

Here are four reasons why it is better not to enter the world of alcohol.

1. Alcohol affects every organ in the body including the brain. Depending upon how much a person drinks, it can drastically impair brain function and motor skills including driving. In 2010, there were 10,839 deaths associated with alcohol-impaired drivers. This accounts for 32 percent of all traffic accident deaths.1 Alcohol and driving are a bad mix that takes lives.

2. Alcohol acts as a depressant by slowing the functions of the central nervous system. It can block messages trying to get to the brain. This action affects a person’s perception, movement, vision hearing and emotions. When too much alcohol is used long term it affects memory. Blackouts can be common and a person will not remember conversations and actions because they are under the influence. Alcohol basically disrupts the mind’s ability to form long term memory.2

3. Alcohol may negatively impact the heart. In some people, alcohol may be harmful to those who have heart failure, enlarged heart, high blood pressure, diabetes, irregular heart rhythm, history of stroke and taking medications. Research has reported some benefits with moderate use of alcohol but some researchers are beginning to question these benefits. Besides, thsee benefits that have been reported with alcohol use can be achieved through exercise and a healthy diet without the alcohol.3

4. Alcohol consumed in large amounts can cause cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, alcohol hepatitis and other diseases. The liver is responsible for processing fats, proteins and carbohydrates including alcohol. Over time, alcohol use can impair fat metabolism, cause scar tissue, inflammation and outright damage liver cells. Too much alcohol is also associated with inflammation of the pancreas, various cancers, high blood pressure and psychological disorders.4

Alcohol can be an addictive substance and is associated with risks that work against us. Further, it impairs our ability to reason and make sound decisions. Avoiding alcohol is one sure way to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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