The Effect of Alcohol

Alcohol And The Skin

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One easily noticed effect of alcohol is the dilation of the small blood vessels of the skin. As a result, the face and neck appears flush, and the person feels warm. In some alcohol miss users, small blood vessels on the nose, cheeks, neck, and chest may remain dilated, even in the absence of alcohol. The dilated vessels may provide the first evidence of potential alcoholism.

Mouth And Esophagus

Alcohol is an irritant to the delicate linings of the throat and food pipe. It burns as it goes down.


Alcohol has an irritating effect on the stomach's protective lining, resulting in gastric or duodenal ulcers. This condition, if it becomes acute, can peritonitis of the stomach wall.


In the small intestine, alcohol blocks, absorption of such substances as thiamin, folic acid, xylose, fat, vitamin B, vitamin B12, and amino acids.


Ninety-five percent of the alcohol taken into the body is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and duodenum. Once in the bloodstream, alcohol quickly moves to every cell and tissue in the body. Alcohol causes red blood cells to clamp together in sticky wads, slowing circulation and depriving the tissues of oxygen. It also causes anemia by reducing the production of red blood cells. Alcohol slows the ability of white cells to engulf and destroy bacteria and degenerates the clotting ability of blood platelets.


Alcohol irritates the cells of the pancreas, causing them to swell, thus blocking the flow of digestive enzymes. The chemicals, unable to enter the small intestine, begin to digest the pancreas, leading to acute hemorrhagic pancreatis. One out of five patients who develop this disease, dies during the first attack. Pancreatis can destroy the pancreas and create a lack of insulin, thus resulting in diabetes.


Alcohol inflames the cells of the liver, causing them to swell and block the tiny canal to the small intestines. This prevents the bile from being filtered properly through the liver. Jaundice develops, turning the skin and the whites of the eyes yellow. Each drink of alcohol increases the number of liver cells destroyed, eventually causing cirrhosis of the liver. This is eight times more frequent among alcoholics than among non-alcoholics.


Alcohol causes inflammation of the heart muscle. It has a toxic effect on the heart and causes increased amounts of fat to collect, thus disrupting the heart's normal metabolism.

Bladder and Kidneys (Urinary Tract)

Alcohol inflames the lining of the bladder, making it unable to stretch properly. In the kidney, alcohol causes an increased loss of fluids through its irritating effect.


Alcohol depresses the brain centers, producing progressively: lack of coordination, confusion, disorientation, stupor, anesthesia, coma, and death. Alcohol abuse over a period of time may cause loss of memory judgment, and learning ability.

Sexual Effects Of Alcohol

Many people report that the pleasure they derive from sexual intercourse is increased by alcohol. Thus, it is surprising to learn that alcohol is not an aphrodisiac (sexual stimulant). Alcohol is, however, a great "disinhibitor." Since many people are usually sexually inhibited, alcohol has gained a reputation as a sexual stimulant simply by contributing to the loss of inhibitions. However, large amounts of alcohol can have a disastrous effect on sexual performance. Excessive drinking, particularly on a chronic basis, is a common contributor to impotence (erectile dysfunction) among males.

Copyright 1998 by Afrocentric News

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