The risks of drinking too much

Past guidance around alcohol use generally suggests a daily drink poses little risk of negative health effects — and might even offer a few health benefits. Eco-Environment & Health (EEH) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal designed for publications on the frontiers of the ecology, environment and health as well as their related disciplines. EEH focuses on the concept of “One Health” to promote green and sustainable development, dealing with the interactions among ecology, environment and health, and the underlying mechanisms and interventions. Our mission is to be one of the most important flagship journals in the field of environmental health.

Oftentimes, we aren’t thinking about how much or how often we consume alcohol or its effects on the body. Drinking moderately if you’re otherwise healthy may be a risk you’re willing to take. But heavy drinking carries a much higher risk even for those without other health concerns. Be sure to ask your healthcare professional about what’s right for your health and safety.

How much alcohol?

Drinking large amounts of alcohol for many years will take its toll on many of the body’s organs and may cause organ damage. Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol misuse include the brain and nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas. If you drink more than 12 units of alcohol, you’re at considerable risk of developing alcohol poisoning, particularly if you’re drinking many units over a short period of time. Binge drinking is drinking enough alcohol to raise one’s BAC to 0.08% or above. Women typically reach this level after about four drinks and men after about five drinks in two hours.

effects of alcohol on the body

However, other organs, including the brain and heart, can also be damaged by long-term heavy alcohol use. Some studies indicate that compounds in red wine, such as resveratrol, may have health benefits. However, these possible benefits do not outweigh the risks of alcohol consumption in regards to cancer risk.

Medical Professionals

In the late stages of cirrhosis, when the liver fails, people can turn yellow (jaundice), swell with fluid and become sleepy and confused. If this carries on unchecked, the whole liver can become a mesh of scars effects of alcohol on the body with small islands of “good” liver in between – cirrhosis. For example, certain ALDH variants, more common in East Asian populations, lead to a buildup of acetaldehyde, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.