Alcoholand the Human Body
Alcoholin alcoholic beverages is typically in the form of ethanol, which isproduced during the fermentation process. This ethanol is actually atype of drug that severely affects the human body when consumed inlarge amounts. Alcohol typically affects the brain and the liver themost, but can damage all of the systems in the body. Alcohol abusecan contribute to various diseases such as stroke, cancer, dementiaas well as liver diseases like cirrhosis.
Theliver is responsible for breaking down alcohol that enters the bloodstream. When extreme amount of alcohol is passed through the liver,it can be damaged and can lose function. When thishappens continually over time, the liver is essentially dying.However, this disease takes quite a while to fully manifest and thesymptoms are noticeable for a long time, so prevention can be easy.
Thefirst indications of liver cirrhosis arise during the body's processto metabolise the alcohol. Poisonous substances will be produced asthe liver tries to break down large amounts of ethanol and thesesubstances kill the liver cells and deprecate the liver function. The immunesystem kicks in at this point, causing inflammation of the liver andintroducing extreme amounts of cytokines to try to repair the damageto the liver. These cytokines are the primary cause of liver tissuescars and alcohol hepatitis.
Afterthis, alcohol hepatitis will set in and alcohol will cause fat cellsto congregate in the liver, inhibiting its function and eventuallyshutting it down. The liver is an extremely important organ in thebody, carrying out around 1500 different jobs that keep the bodyfunctioning correctly. Once the liver reaches the point of full-onliver cirrhosis, it is permanently damaged and produces scar tissueinstead of normal, healthy tissue. This scar tissue is extremely poorat carrying out the liver's processes and the body suffers more andmore over time.
Themost effective prevention method is to simply stop consuming alcohol.Excessive amounts of any food or drink can be harmful, but substancesthat are essentially drugs (like ethanol) will damage the body muchmore severely. Limiting alcohol intake at the early stages can helpprevent liver damage from becoming worse, while complete abstinencefrom alcohol intake and the consumption of very fatty foods isadvised if the liver is already suffering. Liver cirrhosis can befatal and liver damage must be taken very seriously.