Effects of Alcohol

We toast our successes. We drown our sorrows. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Our world is filled with reasons to pour a drink, yet even a single drink can affect your body. And too much can have a long-lasting impact that isn’t always reversible. Fortunately, it is possible to find out if alcohol is harming your body before it’s too late by taking a simple test from Any Lab Test Now.

What alcohol does

Even one drink starts to affect your body. It changes your brain – making it harder to think clearly and making coordination challenging. Long-term, heavy drinking can cause damage to learning and memory. Abstaining over several months may allow your brain to repair itself at least partially.

Your heart can also be damaged, even in just one evening of binge drinking. Long-term drinking weakens the heart muscle, so it can’t pump enough blood to the organs. The short-term result is shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen legs and feet. The long-term result can be heart failure. Binge drinking can cause the heart to beat too rapidly or irregularly – running a risk of stroke. And women are more likely to have their blood pressure go up as a result of drinking too much than men. The Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now tests for damage to your heart.

In addition, heavy drinking takes a serious toll on the liver, and eventually can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Quitting won’t reverse the damage, but it will stop it in its tracks. You can get a basic screening of your liver function with the Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now.

The same test will point to potential problems in the pancreas, which is also severely impacted by heavy drinking. The pancreas reacts to alcohol by producing toxic substances and that eventually leads to pancreatitis – a dangerous swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas. The effects can be managed by not drinking.

And there’s more — alcohol can increase your risk of a list of cancers: mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast cancers. It also weakens your immune system. For as long as 24 hours after getting drunk, you may have trouble fighting off infections as serious as pneumonia.

How do you know how much is too much?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are guidelines. For men, you shouldn’t have more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks a week. For women, you shouldn’t have more than three drinks a day and no more than seven drinks in a week. Those amounts are considered to be low risk. But low risk is not no risk. If you drink too quickly, have health problems or are over 65, alcohol can cause problems. For some people, any amount at all is too much.

If you are worried that you – or someone you love – does drink too much, there is a way to find out. The FAEE Hair Alcohol Abuse Test available at Any Lab Test Now can determine if someone is alcohol dependent. It uses a small sample of hair and measures the amount of a metabolite of alcohol in that hair. You can use the results of the test to talk with your doctor about what steps to take next to get help.

Having the answers about alcohol – and it’s effect on your body – can be an important step in getting and staying healthy. The medical assistants at your local Any Lab Test Now are there to help you find the right test to get you on the track to taking the best care of yourself.

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