Medical Specialists® Pharmacy explore the catastrophic health risks of alcohol abuse
1st August 2014
alcoholIt’s been a long, stressful day at the office, and for many people this means one thing – having a drink to ‘unwind’. Maybe a few pints at the pub with work mates is appealing after a gruelling day, or perhaps a few glasses of wine in the evening each night with a meal is how others choose to relax. One or two drinks each evening may seem innocent enough and simply a customary part of one’s evening. After all, there is no harm in kicking back with a few beers each night after work right? Wrong… There are multiple hidden dangers of long-term alcohol consumption, and what seems like a few harmless drinks every night is actually disastrous for the body – both inside and out. Everybody knows about the staggering number calories contained in most alcoholic drinks. Simply put, those who consume alcohol are consuming empty calories with no nutritional value. It may be shocking to learn that just a single glass of wine contains around the same number of calories contained in four cookies, and a pint of lager is roughly as calorie-laden as a slice of pizza. For the heavier drinkers, it will be frightening to learn that the NHS Livewell website’s alcohol page states that just drinking five pints of lager each week can tally up to 44,200kcal over the course of a year – or eating about 221 doughnuts. This may go some way to explaining Homer Simpson’s rotund belly. After all, the Springfield native has a penchant for both beer and doughnuts! It is suddenly easier to understand the role alcohol plays in the increasingly problematic UK obesity crisis and why the health problems linked to being overweight or obese are costing the NHS over £5 billion each and every year. And alcohol plays a part in helping people to easily gain weight with its calorific nature. Maybe lager isn’t your preferred choice of tipple and surely wine is kinder on the waistline? Wrong again! Just two large glasses of white wine takes up about fifth of the recommended daily calorie intake for a woman. That could force people into a rethink before opening that second bottle of wine in the future. In addition, alcohol is fat-sparing. This means that the body will look to burn it for its fuel source before fat. This means when alcohol is drank to excess of the body’s daily energy requirements, it suddenly becomes much more difficult for the body to burn up fat. Thus, more fat is stored, and weight is gained. As well as weight gain, alcohol – in particularly alcohol abuse – is associated with a whole host of serious health problems. The NHS Change 4 Life’s alcohol’s hidden harms page provides both an excellent, and alarming list of health risks associated with alcohol. For instance, regularly consuming alcohol above the lower risk guidelines can lead to cancers of the throat, oesophagus or larynx, breast cancer in women, high blood pressure, heart attack, a stroke, liver disease such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, pancreatitis and impaired fertility. The impact to health extends beyond the deadly diseases. ‘Brewers droop’ may be a term laughed off amongst friends, as purely an isolated occurrence of male impotence from the result of drinking too much. However, alcohol usually always results in sexual problems in a relationship. For men, this equates to difficulty getting and sustaining an erection – even when sober. This is because short and long term of drinking too much alcohol can damage the body’s tissues. Most commonly affected are those in the brain, liver and nervous system, and often leaving the male with erectile dysfunction. Male impotence can be disastrous for relationships and leave the man with a huge loss of self-esteem, confidence and can even lead to anxiety and depression. Depressed people often turn to alcohol to cope, but this is completely inadvisable. Not only is alcohol a depressant, meaning you are probably going to end up more miserable than you started off, but then the potential weight gain and sexual dysfunction will only further increase the mental anxieties. Medical Specialists™ Pharmacy provide treatments for both weight gain (Xenical, XLS-Medical), and erectile dysfunction (Generic Sildenafil, Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Vitaros Cream, etc.) will can help to regain confidence in your social and private life. The good news is there are many wonderful benefits to reap from cutting down on alcohol intake. Reducing - or even giving up altogether – alcohol will leave the skin looking clearer, suddenly those previously waking up tired every day may have more energy, and there is the financial aspect of course. Alcoholic drinks can be incredibly expensive and by cutting down, this will save possibly hundreds of pounds each year. The most important reason for cutting back on the booze is obviously the major health benefits to be had, but surely the thought of being able to treat yourself to things that were previously unaffordable is tempting enough to cut back or even banish the booze completely!