The Effect of Alcohol
Alcohol And The Skin
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
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
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
Copyright 1998 by Afrocentric News
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