Alcohol Consumption - Effects of Alcohol On Health

Effects of Alcohol On Health

See also: Alcohol and sex, Blood alcohol content, Alcohol intoxication, Long-term effects of alcohol, and Short-term effects of alcohol

Short-term effects of alcohol consumption include intoxication and dehydration. Long-term effects of alcohol include changes in the metabolism of the liver and brain and alcoholism (addiction to alcohol).

Alcohol intoxication affects the brain, causing slurred speech, clumsiness, and delayed reflexes. Alcohol stimulates insulin production, which speeds up glucose metabolism and can result in low blood sugar, causing irritability and (for diabetics) possible death. Severe alcohol poisoning can be fatal.

A blood alcohol content of .45% in test animals results in a median lethal dose of LD50. This means that .45% is the concentration of blood alcohol that is fatal in 50% of the test subjects. That is about six times the level of ordinary intoxication (0.08%), but vomiting or unconsciousness may occur much sooner in people who have a low tolerance for alcohol. The high tolerance of chronic heavy drinkers may allow some of them to remain conscious at levels above .40%, although serious health dangers are incurred at this level.

Alcohol also limits the production of vasopressin (ADH) from the hypothalamus and the secretion of this hormone from the posterior pituitary gland. This is what causes severe dehydration when large amounts of alcohol are drunk. It also causes a high concentration of water in the urine and vomit and the intense thirst that goes along with a hangover.

Stress, hangovers and oral contraceptive pill may increase the desire for alcohol because these things will lower the level of testosterone and alcohol will acutely elevate it. Tobacco has the same effect of increasing the craving for alcohol.

Read more about this topic:  Alcohol Consumption

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