Alcohol - Benefits and Harms - Slideshow
Any drink that contains ethanol is called an alcoholic beverage.
Alcoholic beverages are classified into three types - distilled spirits, beers and wines.
Alcohol has, for long, played an essential role in social interaction.
But it is also known for its negative effects, most importantly for addiction.
So, is alcohol good or bad?
Cheers to Health - Alcohol Benefits
Several research studies have linked moderate drinking to reduced risk of heart disease.
Longevity is improved in moderate drinkers than in heavy or non-drinkers.
Instances of stroke, hypertension, Alzheimer's, artery disease and even the common cold seem lesser in moderate drinkers.
Reports have suggested that sensible drinking helps prevent or lessen the impact of diseases like
Digestive disorders, depression, duodenal ulcer, pancreatic cancer
Hearing and memory loss, gallstones, erectile dysfunction
Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis
Lesser cases of hospitalization and general disability were reported among moderate drinkers.
Risk of death after a heart attack seems reduced in sensible drinkers.
Cholesterol levels are lower because alcohol raises HDL (good) cholesterol.
Alcohol also has a terrible downside too.
Women, especially, suffer the more acute complications such as higher risk of liver disease and breast cancer than in men.
Definition of 'moderate drinking' is also disputed - it may mean drinks daily/weekly/at parties for different people.
Alcohol is a psychoactive drug and is known for its depressant effect.
High intake of alcohol raises blood alcohol level - causing drunkenness.
Drunken state slows reaction speed and reduces alertness.
Besides, alcohol is also addictive.
Alcoholism/Alcohol abuse causes nerve disorders, muscle cramps, speeds up ageing, osteoporosis, appetite loss and depression
A mental 'dependency' is also created, where individuals find it to difficult to function without alcohol ' as seen in other addictive behaviors.
Binge drinking can lead to atrial fibrillation, which increases risk of blood clots and stroke.
Chronic increase in blood pressure has been noted, even in moderate drinkers.
The liver takes time to process alcohol - hence, an excess of blood alcohol level can overwork the liver and cause long-term difficulties.
Alcohol can cause serious complications in individuals suffering from certain diseases like hepatitis C, pancreatic disease, hemorrhagic stroke etc
Alcohol abuse also has an adverse negative impact.
Alcoholism has been the root cause for several broken relationships, dysfunctional families, lost jobs, crimes, fatal road accidents and social isolation.
Is Alcohol Good or Bad?
The benefits of alcohol mentioned here most apply to men over 40 years and women post menopause. So it's no excuse for binge drinking at young ages.
Studies haven't been able to bring a balance between alcohol's benefits vis-a-vis its harms; so even moderate drinking is currently not advisable.
As Dr. M. Robertson once said, "If half the pubs and bottle stores were closed, I guarantee that half the hospitals and jails will remain closed."
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