“Don’t Drink and Swim”
The Water Safety Council of New South Wales, Australia, warns that the adage “Don’t drink and drive” should be expanded to include “Don’t drink and swim.” The Council wrote to the Medical Journal of Australia, pointing out that when drownings of those under 18 were eliminated, 39 percent of the remainder had “significant blood alcohol levels.
Prolonged heavy drinking destroys brain cells. And the body is not able to replace these the way it does other body cells.
Autopsies of chronic alcoholics have revealed massive destruction of brain cells. Such brain damage can bring on or aggravate various mental disorders, including paranoia, a form of insanity characterized by a persecution complex; and schizophrenia, a “splitting” of the personality.
Some parents think it is cute when their little child sip the parents’ alcoholic drinks. This seemingly “harmless” practice resulted in a two-year-old child apparently becoming addicted to alcohol in Ōita, Japan. According to the Mainichi Daily News, the little boy had been accustomed to “sharing” his father’s evening drink. Then recently the tyke begged his 10-year-old brother to give him a drink and unwittingly the older boy poured him some Shochu (distilled spirits). The two-year-old was seized with convulsions and died 16 hours later.
Alcohol and Fat?
It is hardly news that people who drink too many alcoholic beverages tend to get fat. But why? A recent study at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, came up with an interesting possibility. Apparently it is not just the calories in alcohol that make it so fattening but also the way alcohol affects the body’s ability to burn fat.
Nutritionists have long known that the body is a bit sluggish when it comes to burning fat, tending to store it while burning sugars and carbohydrates more readily. But alcohol makes the body burn fat even more slowly.
In an experiment, men were placed on diets that included three ounces [90 ml] of pure alcohol per day—about the equivalent of six beers. On this diet, the men burned about one-third less fat than usual. Of course, the more fat in one’s diet, the more pronounced this effect tends to become.
Alcohol-Related Surgery Risk
Patients who have more than five drinks of alcohol daily are three times more likely to suffer post-surgery complications than are patients who drink less, according to Danish chief surgeon Dr. Finn Hardt. As the Journal of the Danish Medical Association reported recently, the misuse of alcohol has a toxic effect on practically all organ systems; it causes an increased tendency to bleed as well as heart and lung problems.
Such conditions usually prompt doctors to call for longer hospitalization and more blood transfusions. Those who drink large amounts of alcohol daily also risk weakening their immune system, thereby raising the risk of infection. Examinations have proved, however, that after several weeks of abstinence, the immune system is much improved. Dr. Hardt recommends that before any surgery, patients abstain from alcohol for such a period.
A study undertaken in the U.S. by the Federal Drug Abuse Warning Network highlights the peril of drinking alcoholic beverages while taking such drugs as tranquilizers. Alcohol combined with drugs is responsible for the highest number of drug-related sicknesses and deaths, the 24-city study revealed.
Alcohol and Vision
According to University of California eye doctors, for some time after drinking heavily of alcoholic beverages auto drivers have trouble identifying things and keeping them fixed in view. Reportedly, vision becomes normal again only after six hours have passed since a person’s last drink.
Alcohol and Fire Fatalities
An autopsy study in Maryland, U.S.A., reveals that carbon-monoxide poisoning was responsible for half the fire deaths in that state during a six-year period. Significantly, the Detroit Free Press says that “thirty percent of fire victims were legally drunk when they died.
Alcohol & The Brain
When the alcohol reaches your brain, it dehydrates the brain cells and interferes with the generation of electric messages. When the alcohol leaves your system, the brain cells regain their water. Drinking excessive amounts over a long period of time, however, can impair intelligence and memory. Brain size diminishes as cells are destroyed, and IQ drops permanently.
Alcohol and Hearts
Can limited use of alcoholic beverages help to stave off heart disease? Surprisingly, a team of researchers reporting in Britain’s medical journal Lancet did find that moderate use of alcoholic beverages may prevent heart disease by converting blood cholesterol to a less dangerous form.
“It was awfully surprising to us to find this,” explained one of the main investigators. But, he added, “our study is only a start toward answering” questions regarding alcohol and the heart. The researchers believe that it is best to be cautious and to await more research before endorsing alcohol as a heart-attack preventive.
Alcohol and the Stomach
What does this excess of alcohol do as it travels through your system? First stop is your stomach. There it can erode the mucous coating that protects the lining of your stomach from stomach acid. It can also make your stomach produce more acid.
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