From Heart Disease to Alzheimer’s to Cancer
“The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness”. — Arthur Schopenhauer
For those well-versed in the characteristics of alcoholism, they could immediately see that these are the first signs of jaundice, a yellowing of the eyes or skins related to dysfunction of the liver.
This is one of the first signs of someone seriously being in danger of having permanent liver damage because of drinking.
One need only to rewatch the mini-series to see that Michael was the ONLY person who was also drinking during the filming to guess that the subtle trap of alcohol has turned his habit and” like” into a craving and need.
And while liver disease is often one of the most recognizable ailments caused by drinking, what if I told you there were many others that you put yourself at risk of developing each time you drink?
Everyone likes to refer to the studies that say a glass of red wine is good for the heart and can make you live longer. They cite the numerous studies that link drinking one or two glasses of wine to individuals who live a long life.
Much of this is related to the heart and how it is believed moderate drinking helps keep good cholesterol at higher levels longer, leading to a decrease in heart-related traumatic events.
Thanks go to
who recently shared with me an interesting scientific study talking about the positive effects of one or two glasses per day on those who live in a Blue Zone, an area of the world in which people live relatively long lives.
This is a great example of an aforementioned study that makes people think that there is nothing wrong with drinking.
What some don’t take into account is that many people find it almost IMPOSSIBLE to adhere to a one to two-drink maximum, and they often don’t take into account the other numerous lifestyles practices (healthy diet, consistent exercise, family and religious focus, etc.) that are added to this decision.
The other problem with many of these studies is that when it is based on a group comparison study, the non-drinking group often fell into the category known as abstainer bias.
What this means is that most of the people who were in the non-drinking group were in this group because they were made to give up alcohol due to the other numerous negative health effects they were already experiencing BEFORE quitting.
Due to these effects, these people were probably going to live shorter lives already. This completely skewed the results of these tests, and upon further analysis, many scientists are seeing no correlation to drinking and living a longer life.
In fact, there is way more conclusive evidence that it is the exact opposite as it relates to the heart. While the debate on whether “moderate” drinking provides any benefit to your heart is wide open, there is no debate on the negative effects of “excessive” drinking.
This could lead to various health problems related to the heart, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. It could also lead to a disorder known as cardiomyopathy that affects the heart muscle.
And while many people may be able to recognize moderate drinking as one or two drinks per day (based on your gender), what many people don’t know is that you only need to have four or five drinks in a day (a heavy-handed pour could create this effect easily without someone even knowing), to cross over into the category of excessive.
There are few things that seem scarier than reaching a certain age and not being able to recognize your loved ones. We watch in horror when we see the elderly struggle to recognize where they live or recall the name of someone they’ve known for years.
It seems like the saddest and scariest thing at the same time. Considering that, most of us feel that we are willing to do whatever is needed to prevent this from happening to us.
We put scoops of turmeric in our food, play mind games while on the porcelain throne, and pop fish oil pills daily all in an attempt to keep our brain sharp and optimal.
Then why do we often ignore the one thing that could have perhaps the greatest negative effect on our memory as if it’s not a factor at all?
There have been numerous studies that show a direct correlation between alcohol and increased risk of Alzheimer’s. To understand this, you have to understand how the brain works to prevent this.
Each day, a substance called amyloid plaque accumulates in our brain and can be the cause of impairment of memory and ability to recall things readily through the interference of your neurons connecting.
The brain has a natural way to remove this plaque each night while you’re asleep using its glymphatic system and cells called activated microglial cells.
This system, in effect, “cleans” the brain each night of this plaque, keeping the neuron highways open for quick connections and memory recalls, as well as the storing of long term memories and information.
When someone consumes lots of alcohol over a long term basis, these microglial cells become inflamed and could eventually cease to stop working. This could eventually lead to the buildup of amyloid plaque over your brain, which is one of the main characteristics of those who have developed Alzheimer’s.
The good news is by stopping excessive drinking there is a good chance that much of this damage can be reversed with abstinence before it reaches dangerous levels.
For some reason, this seems to slip under the radar for people.
As much of a mystery cancer still remains today in relation to who gets it versus who doesn’t, there are still some very definitive things we can do to increases our chances versus decreasing them.
Many years ago, the connection between smoking and cancer was made so directly that the industry faced a crisis of whether it would survive.
When we think back on it now, it seems silly that we didn’t realize that putting chemicals in our lungs on a consistent basis would not lead to something negative. There are over 600 ingredients in cigarettes, with 69 of them considered as recognizable carcinogens.
In that same vein, it is a wonder that we haven’t made this connection to alcohol as of yet.
Carcinogens are substances and exposures that have been proven to cause cancer through scientific study. Some items that fall into this listing are solar radiation, asbestos, and an entire list of other chemicals and compounds that are difficult to say.
Alcohol falls into this category for two reasons.
One, alcohol is made up of pure ethanol, which is a known carcinogen that will directly kill cells when exposed to it for as little as 15 seconds. This is one of the reasons drinking pure alcohol will kill you.
Drinking distilled ethanol in the form of alcohol can cause DNA replications and mutations that can eventually lead to cancer growth in the oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus.
Two, when you drink, the body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. Over time, this can result in your cell beginning to function abnormally and grow out of control, creating tumors.
The science is simple. All types of alcohol – wine, beer, liquor, and cocktails – are all linked to cancer. The more you drink, the higher your cancer risk.
There are many things we desire to have in life — money, power, freedom. We work hard every day to create the life of our dreams to be able to attain these, so we can do whatever we desire one day.
How sad would it be then to finally get all of these through hard work and not be able to enjoy them because we lost the one thing that we took for granted to alcohol— our health?