Alcohol in the body

Whenever anyone drinks, the chemical compound of alcohol, known as ethanol, is quickly picked up by the blood and sent throughout the entire blood stream of the body. Multiple factors affect the duration of how long alcohol will stay in someone’s body (such as weight, height, sex, food consumption…etc), however, for most people alcohol will stay in their system for two hours from when it was ingested. Anytime someone is drinking, the alcohol percentage in their bloodstream will reach a certain point where it cannot exceed, and then the alcohol level in the blood will began to decrease. This is exactly why initially booze makes individuals feel joyful and less stressed, but can eventually lead to feeling tired, sick and dazed.

The reason someone becomes “drunk”, “trashed” or “wasted” is due to the ratio of consuming more alcohol than their bodies can break down in a given time. Alcohol is broken down by the small intestine and stomach with a small percent that leaves the body via the mouth with breathing or urinating, but if the alcohol is not able to be absorbed by these organs it will lead to unhealthy intoxication.

Over consumption or binge drinking affects many parts of our anatomy. Alcohol hurts the liver, which breaks down alcohol and most other toxic substances. Individuals who binge drink for extended periods of time will typically contract illnesses relating to the liver; two common diseases are liver inflammation or “alcoholic hepatitis” and severe liver scarring also known as “cirrhosis”. Illnesses pertaining to liquor and liver damage can often lead to fatality.

If the liver is unable to absorb all of the alcohol, it will push it out to other parts of our body, such as the heart, lungs, and our brain. The brain regulates our movement, speech, judgment, and memory which are all inhibited by alcohol. At first this feels good and is the reason many individuals drink, but this can lead to problems. The symptoms of too much alcohol or being “drunk” is observed by someone’s onset of difficulty to walk, slurred speech, memory lapses, and impulsive behavior. Many of these mentioned are short term symptoms, but extended use of heavy consumption will cause frontal lobe shrinking, this will effect thinking skills forever.

Alcohol affects the heart in both negative and positive. Some research displays that moderate drinking can decrease the odds of developing heart disease. Moderate drinking is defined differently and in multiple ways around the world, in general this is one drink per day. On the other hand, research has also shown that, in both the short and long term, binge drinking will most likely damage the heart. Many people who drink heavily over a long term experience a significant case of higher blood pressure compared to the rest of the demographic. This is key, because high blood pressure always increases any human’s chance of heart disease or attack. Doctors suggest that the blood pressure of a person will return to baseline levels within a few months of not consuming alcohol unless significant damage has already been done to the heart.

Male and Female Drinkers Compared

There are some unique difference between men and women when discussing alcohol consumption and its effects. Statistically, men who are elder will be more inclined to consume or drink as compared with elder female counterpart. Research confirms that females, irrelevant of age, will typically be exhibit more effects of drinking as compared to males. The female anatomy will usually break down the ethanol in alcohol at a much slower pace than males. For women, it is also much tougher for the body/liver to break down the drinks due to the female anatomy simply having less water than male bodies (water is needed in every chemical reaction in the body). This is the main reason why typically when a man and a woman drink the exact same amount, the female will generally feel the effects of the alcohol much more. This reasoning and research is the explanation for why the legal consumption limit for females is lower than males.

The likeliness of long term alcohol consumption having permanent and damaging consequence is higher for females over males. Research has shown that even just one drink per day increases the chances of developing cancer in women who have a family history of cancer or especially who are in post-menopause life. With all this being said, it is medically and scientifically impossible to foresee how alcohol will affect cancer in a person.