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How Can Alcohol Ruin Your Immune System?

04/12/2021

Alcohol is always at the very top of the list of the world’s most commonly consumed drug. From youths to adults and older people, everyone drinks alcohol. 

During this pandemic, when the world has shut down, alcohol has been flying off the shelves to beat the boredom. Undoubtedly, a glass of wine, beer, or gin casually isn’t concerning to anyone. But, if the quantity gets out of control, it can cause serious health issues starting from damage to your immune system.

Woman sipping alcohol

The immune system works in your body as a wall to defend itself from harmful viruses, bacterias, and infections, which eventually prevents you from getting sick. In the current COVID scenario, it is more important than ever to keep the immune system healthy as it can help fight off diseases like COVID-19 more quickly. Alcohol directly impairs the immune system's cells, making it hard for the wall to defend from viruses, and excessive alcohol consumption can worsen the wall. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive drinking can be defined as:

 

➢       Binge Drinking: 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men; 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women.

➢       Heavy Drinking: 15 or more glasses a week for men, 8 or more drinks a week for women.

➢ Drinking before the legal drinking age of 21 or drinking while pregnant.

 

Alcohol changes your gut microbiome's design, which has trillions of microorganisms in place, performing critical roles to keep you healthy; this affects microorganisms' ability to help the immune system. With the damage in the immune system's cells, it gets easier for pathogens to cross the bloodstream.

If you think that you will get a simple cold or fever due to your weak immune system, then you are wrong. This condition can lead to many respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pancreatitis, liver disease, nerve damage, painful ulcer, and an increased risk of cancer.

That’s not the end of the line. Some studies suggest that excessive alcohol drinking also affects your sleep quality. If a person gets less sleep, they are at a higher risk of getting sick and feeling tired the next day.

Moderate drinking on some occasions is usually safe and has no negative impact on the immune system. Anything above that your body is getting exposed to alcohol for an extended period is alarming. It is also advised that people with alcohol abuse disorder or women who are pregnant should avoid alcohol.

Alcohol Awareness Month is going on, and it is the right time to spread awareness to your loved ones. If you know someone who has been drinking excessive alcohol lately, reach out to them and help them get rid of this habit. With the advancement in the medical field, there are effective anti-alcohol drugs available as well. Consult a doctor for the medical prescription and other treatments. 

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