When it comes to drinking alcohol, we’ve all heard the warnings about how it can be dangerous to our health. But what exactly does alcohol do to your blood when you consume it? Does alcohol thin your blood?
To answer this question, we must look at the relationship between alcohol and our bodies.
Alcohol is absorbed into our bloodstream and can affect different parts of our body in different ways. In this article, we will explore what happens to our blood when we consume alcohol and how it affects us both short-term and long-term.
Health Concerns Of Drinking Alcohol
Although there is some recent debate, a healthy person can likely drink up to one alcoholic beverage per day without significant health concerns. However, chronic or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a number of serious health problems, including liver disease, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
People who drink alcohol heavily or chronically are also at increased risk for developing high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and certain types of dementia. Additionally, heavy drinking can impair the immune system and increase the risk of developing infections.
Pregnant women should avoid drinking alcohol altogether as it can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a condition that causes physical and mental defects in children. FAS is 100% preventable if pregnant women abstain from alcohol.
How Alcohol Affects the Blood
The effects of alcohol on the blood can be both short-term and long-term. Short-term effects can include impaired judgment and coordination, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, and nausea.
When you drink alcohol, it quickly passes from your stomach and intestines into your bloodstream. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the nervous system. This includes the brain.
As your blood alcohol content (BAC) rises, you begin to feel drunk. Your speech may become slurred and your coordination impaired. You may have trouble thinking clearly and making decisions. As BAC continues to rise, you can become confused and drowsy. You can even pass out.
At high levels, BAC can cause death. This is because alcohol depresses the central nervous system to the point where it stops working entirely. The heart and lungs can also be affected, leading to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.
Alcohol is also said to “thin your blood”. What this really means is, alcohol impairs the ability of your blood to clot resulting in more bleeding if you are cut. This is one of the reasons alcohol can be dangerous, because if you have an accident while drinking, you can bleed more.
Short-term effects of alcohol on the blood include:
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated blood vessels
- Decreased inhibitions
- Impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty walking
- slowed reaction time
Long-term effects can lead to chronic problems such as liver disease, heart disease, and cancer, all diseases affecting the blood.
Heavy drinking can also cause anemia, which is a decrease in the number of red blood cells. It causes deficiencies in vitamins as well, specifically B vitamins. Some studies suggest long-term alcohol use can also impair the abilities of your white blood cells— the cells that fight infection and disease. Both of these factors can lead to fatigue and increased risk of infection.
Drinking alcohol leads to a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can damage vital organs and cause all sorts of other health problems. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. When you drink alcohol, your body also produces more urine, which can lead to dehydration and kidney problems.
Finally, alcoholism can cause long-term nerve damage. This is called alcoholic neuropathy. The cause is unknown, but likely has to do with a deficiency of nutrients associated with alcoholics. This damage is usually permanent, and will likely get worse if the patient keeps drinking.
Treatment For Drinking
It’s no secret that alcohol consumption can lead to some pretty serious health consequences. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to everything from liver disease and cancer, to nerve damage and memory problems.
However, the good news is, once the drinking stops you can often get your health back, as long as you catch things before it’s too late. For example, the liver is a wonderfully self-repairing organ. Given time, the liver can often repair itself— as long as there is enough time.
Cirrhosis of the liver cannot be cured, for example, but if the drinking is stopped before the organs reach this stage, oftentimes the liver can heal. Even with cirrhosis, the symptoms can be effectively managed.
This is why it’s so important to quit drinking sooner rather than later. The sooner it is caught, the sooner gotten into treatment, the sooner your body can begin to repair itself and the less damage that can be done.
Quality Treatment For Alcoholism At JourneyPure
If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption or think you may have a problem with drinking, please seek professional help. There are many resources available to help you overcome your addiction and live a healthy life, including treatment here at JoureyPure.
Alcohol has a wide range of effects on your blood and body. While moderate consumption is generally safe for some people, heavy drinking can cause serious health issues if it’s done regularly or excessively over time.
If you’re concerned about your drinking habits or are experiencing any negative physical effects from alcohol use, be sure to speak with us today by calling (888) 985-2207 and we can discuss any health concerns you may have.
- years in the field