What You Need to Know About Alcohol and Your Health
Our collection of expert medical advice and information on alcohol consumption and your health
Many people wonder about the health effects of alcohol. If you’re healthy, you don’t have to avoid alcohol altogether. But you shouldn’t drink alcohol every day, or even on most days of the week.
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Fatty liver, which is early-stage alcoholic liver disease, develops in about 90 percent of people who drink more than one and a half to two ounces of alcohol in a day. So, if you drink that much or more on most days of the week, you probably have fatty liver. Continued alcohol use leads to liver fibrosis and, finally, cirrhosis, in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue.
Here is our collection of expert medical advice and information on alcohol consumption and your health:
If you enjoy a having a drink, you may perk up when you read a headline touting the health benefits of alcohol. It is true that multiple peer-reviewed studies have linked moderate drinkers with lower risks of heart disease and longer life spans than non-drinkers. Researchers haven’t nailed down an exact reason, but moderate consumption may help raise levels of good cholesterol and even prevent blood clots.
If your physician asks you how many alcoholic drinks you consume every day, there’s good reason to be precise. That’s because if you are taking medication, consuming alcoholic drinks regularly could create serious health problems because of interaction between your medicine and alcohol. A recent analysis shows that more than 40 percent of people drank alcohol regularly while using medications known to interact with alcohol.
Some of the ways alcohol affects our health are well-known, but others may surprise you. For example, if you drink every day, or almost every day, you probably catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink. That’s because alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections.
That nightcap, beer or glass of red wine before bed can be a sure-fire ticket to falling asleep easily. But while an alcoholic drink might ease you into a deep slumber initially, it can end up robbing you of a good night’s rest. The problem is that as the alcohol is metabolized during the second half of the night, it creates more fragmented sleep.
If you have diabetes, you can enjoy alcohol — in moderation, of course. But be sure to talk with your healthcare provider. Alcohol consumption could affect your medical condition or the medicine that you are taking. You’ll want to follow these five safety tips.
Even if you practice moderation in drinking, alcohol can be hard on your heart. Researchers have found that having as little as one to three alcoholic drinks a day may increase your risk for atrial fibrillation. The most common abnormal heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, causes symptoms that include lack of energy, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and chest pain.
All of us can benefit from taking care about how much alcohol we drink, but the stakes are higher when you have epilepsy. If this is you, you might wonder how much alcohol is safe to drink without triggering a seizure. But we have good news for you.
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