By:
20-10-2015

What Happens To Each Organ When You Drink Alcohol?

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Heart

Numerous studies have linked low-level alcohol consumption, such as a single glass of wine, with cardiovascular benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease. However, as intake increases, alcohol can also have a serious detrimental effect on the heart, bringing about both short and long-term complications. For example, alcohol can alter the rate at which your heart beats, potentially leading to irregularities or 'arrhythmias'. This is a particular risk for those who regularly drink large quantities, or for those who are not used to alcohol but suddenly binge drink. In some instances, arrhythmias can increase the risk of suffering a stroke. High levels of alcohol intake can also weaken the heart muscle, causing problems with blood flow and eventually a condition called 'alcoholic cardiomyopathy'. Sufferers of this condition often experience shortness of breath, fatigue and persistent coughing, but in extreme cases it can even lead to heart failure.
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Brain

For most people, perhaps the most obvious effect alcohol has upon the brain is an induced feeling of excitement or happiness. This is because alcohol interferes with the neurological pathways responsible for sending signals to the brain, in this case triggering the release of dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria. Alcohol consumption also slows the passing of information between neurotransmitters. In the cerebral cortex portion of the brain, this inhibits thought processes and depresses inhibitory centres, resulting in poor judgement and lowered inhibitions. Meanwhile, the impact upon the cerebellum area can severely impair your balance. Drinking large quantities of alcohol can lead to short-term memory loss. Over time, continued damage to the brain's neurotransmitters can produce mood disorders or behavioural changes, including depression and anxiety. Furthermore, regular alcohol intake alters neurotransmitter production, eventually causing alcohol dependence.
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