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How Does Alcohol Affect Appearance?

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by X-PASTER, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Oct 17, 2010
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
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    A 60 second guide to alcohol and your health.

    How does alcohol affect appearance?
    Alcohol dehydrates the body, particularly the skin, which can increase fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydration often causes the body to try and hold onto fluids which can be seen as puffiness in the face and bloating of the stomach. Even small amounts of alcohol can deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients, as it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb them. Alcohol can also dilate blood vessels resulting in red bumps, thread veins and spots. This may eventually lead to a condition called rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement.

    At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is second only in calories per gram to pure fat. It also lowers blood sugars which increases appetite - hence the reason why the French invented the aperitif and why kebab houses, Indian restaurants and chip shops have a tendency to fill up as the pubs, bars and clubs start to empty. This ‘double whammy’ effect can wreak havoc on the waistline, so choose your drinks wisely.

    What are the health benefits associated with drinking alcohol?

    Alcohol consumed in moderation is thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. It's still not entirely clear how this is achieved but it is now known that a large proportion of the risk reduction comes from raising 'good' cholesterol concentrations in the blood, and also reducing the risk of blood clots. Red wine in particular is believed to be beneficial as it contains flavonoids. These act as antioxidants which may help prevent the build up of fat on the inner walls of arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

    How much is safe to drink?

    Current government guidelines state that alcohol consumption should be no more than 21 units a week for men and 14 units a week for women.

    You’re advised to spread out alcohol units throughout the week, up to the maximum recommended, rather than to drink large amounts in a single day or weekend. This means women should aim to consume no more than two units a day, and men three units a day.

    What is a unit?
    One unit is 10ml of pure alcohol - the amount of alcohol the average adult’s body can process in an hour. However, that length of time will vary considerably depending on factors such as a person’s gender, height, weight and the length of time since their last meal.

    As a rough guide, one unit of alcohol is equivalent to a small glass of wine, half a pint of beer or a single measure of spirits. However, trying to keep track of your intake this way can be misleading, as variable alcohol content and drink sizes can soon push the number of units consumed upwards.

    For example, robust wines from countries such as Australia, South America and South Africa are becoming increasingly popular, but these New World wines can contain as much as 17% ABV* whereas most other wines are typically between 12 and 14%. Continental lagers can also be considerably higher in alcohol content than other similar beers, sometimes by as much as 50%.

    And don’t forget about size either. Although spirits used to be commonly served in 25ml measures, which are one unit of alcohol, many pubs and bars now serve them in 35ml or 50ml measures. Wine glasses have also shot up in size from the traditional 125ml glass to the 250ml glasses found today in most wine bars. These larger glasses can contain three units of alcohol or more in a single glass. So if you have just two or three drinks, you could actually consume a whole bottle of wine - and almost three times your recommended daily intake of alcohol – without even realising it.

    What are the risks associated with drinking too much?
    There are both short-term and long-term health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol.

    Short-term health risks are largely associated with the increased risk of accidents brought about by alcohol’s ability to reduce balance, co-ordination and reflexes, and impair judgement. If a person is excessively drunk, vomiting may occur. If this happens while the person is asleep it can induce choking, leading to suffocation and even death. This is a risk most commonly found in young adults as a result of binge drinking.

    Longer term health problems include:
    liver, brain and heart damage; gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining); increased risk of diabetes; heart attacks; high blood pressure; raised cholesterol, and cancers - particularly breast and mouth cancer. Excessive drinking can also increase anxiety, sleeping problems, mood swings and depression, and cause memory loss and dementia.

    How does alcohol affect appearance?
    Alcohol dehydrates the body, particularly the skin, which can increase fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydration often causes the body to try and hold onto fluids which can be seen as puffiness in the face and bloating of the stomach. Even small amounts of alcohol can deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients, as it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb them. Alcohol can also dilate blood vessels resulting in red bumps, thread veins and spots. This may eventually lead to a condition called rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement.

    At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is second only in calories per gram to pure fat. It also lowers blood sugars which increases appetite - hence the reason why the French invented the aperitif and why kebab houses, Indian restaurants and chip shops have a tendency to fill up as the pubs, bars and clubs start to empty. This ‘double whammy’ effect can wreak havoc on the waistline, so choose your drinks wisely.

    From sober to drunk

    After 1 to 3 units, or just 1 large glass of wine, you will be more talkative, your heart rate increases, and you will experience a warm feeling or flush caused by alcohol in the blood making small blood vessels in the skin expand. You are likely to feel a little more confident and sociable.

    After 4 to six units, equal to 2 large glasses of wine, you may feel light-headed and your co-ordination and reaction times will be impaired. Your ability to make decisions will also decrease. All of these effects are caused by alcohol slowing down the nerve cells’ ability to function.

    After 7 to 9 units, or approximately three large glasses of wine, your reaction times are considerably reduced, vision becomes blurry and speech is slurred. Drinking more than eight units at a time seriously overloads the liver. Staying off the booze for a few days afterwards should help it to repair itself, but at this stage a hangover is pretty much guaranteed.

    Drinking more than 10 units, approximately 4 large glasses of wine or more, will affect cells all over the body. Memory will become impaired, behaviour will be considerably altered and frequent visits to the loo will be needed as the body tries to pass the alcohol out by mixing it with water. This results in chronic dehydration which causes headaches, stomach upsets, increased blood pressure and dry, dull skin.

    *N.B. (ABV stands for alcohol by volume, or sometimes just the word “vol” appears on the label so, wine that says “17 ABV” on its label contains 17% pure alcohol).



    source: Food and Drink
     
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