If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who drink more than the recommended daily amount,then you could be doing more harm to your body than you’d expect. In actual fact, drinking too much alcohol (whether in a single sitting or over time) can cause damage to your liver, heart, immune system and pancreas. Research by the National Institute of Health found that drinking too much alcohol can also increase your chances of getting certain types of cancer.
But, can quitting alcohol actually improveyour health and help you to reverse some of the side effects? The simple answer to this question is there is no simple answer. While quitting alcohol may not help you to repair all of the damage you’ve already caused, it can help to improve your health in a number of ways and it can stop you from causing any further damage in the future.
People who stop drinking alcohol will likely notice a number of positive changes to their health. Here are some of the positive changes you can expect if you quit drinking alcohol for good:
1. Your Liver
When we think about the different body parts that are affected when we overindulge in alcohol, the liver is often the organ that first comes to mind.The liver is an amazing organ, but it can’t perform miracles. An average liver can metabolize one standard alcoholic drink every hour, so people who choose to drink more than this could risk damaging their liver. They could end up suffering with conditions like cirrhosis, fibrosis, or alcohol hepatitis.
But, there is some good news for people who choose to quit alcohol altogether. The average liver is able to heal itselfwithin a couple of weeks (but this often depends on how badly damaged it is).
2. Your Heart
Heart disease is currently the number one killer in the US. In actual fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one person dies from it every 37 seconds. This is quite a frightening statistic. What’s even more frightening is that the majority of these deaths could have been prevented.
Research has shown that drinking alcohol (even in small amounts) can cause damage to your heart. Not only that, but it’s also been shown to increase your chances of getting a heart muscle disease (otherwise known as cardiomyopathy) and increase your blood pressure (otherwise known as hypertension). Both of these conditions can raise your chances of dying prematurely. So, if you’re overindulging on alcohol, then there’s a good chance your heart will be affected.
The good news is that hypertension (and sometimes cardiomyopathy too) can be reversed by quitting alcohol and starting medication. People who choose to stop drinking alcohol completely can reduce their risk of suddencardiac death or a heart attack considerably.
If you’re worried that you or someone you love is drinking too much alcohol, and you want help or advice on how to stop then get in touch with Harris House. They’ve been helping people with addiction overcome their problems for over 50 years. Their staff are available to answer any questions you may have about alcohol rehabilitation.
3. Your Immune System
In 2015, an article was published in Alcohol Research which stated that our immune systems can be damaged if we drink too much alcohol on a regular basis. So, if you think that drinking a few extra drinks on a weekly basis isn’t going to have an impact on your immune system then you’d be wrong. This research also suggested that drinking too much alcohol could in fact weaken your immune system. It also found that people who consume too much alcohol had a higher chance of catching pneumonia and a lower chance of being able to fight off infections.
But, it’s not all bad news. Quitting alcohol can allow your immune system to start recovering. In order to help your immune system recover quickly you should consider eating a diet high in fiberand probiotic foods.
4. Your Nutrient Levels
Mineral and vitamin deficiencies are often hard to spot in adults because the warning signs are usually subtle. But, research has shown that drinking alcohol can stop your body from absorbing foliatewhich can lead to an increased risk of breast as well as vitamin and mineral deficiency.
Drinking too much alcohol can also have an impact on the dietary choices you make. The majority of people who drink alcohol regularly are malnourished as they’re less likely to choose healthy or nourishing foods. The good news is that by quitting alcohol, you’ll be more likely to make better diet choices.
5. Your Weight
Lots of us worry about our weight. Some people may worry about being overweight, while others worry that they need to gain some weight in order to be healthy. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis could make the task of managing your weight even more difficult than it already is. Drinking just one extra alcoholic drink each night could increase your calorie intake by 100 calories or more. This could lead to you gaining a pound or two over the course of a month. While gaining the odd pound or two may not sound a big deal, it can quickly add up over time.
The good news is that by quitting drinking you can have better control over your weight (and your diet). So, if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, then cutting out the alcohol could help you achieve this goal more quickly.
6. Your Sleep
We’ve all heard that alcohol is a sedative, so drinking before you go to bed should help you to fall asleep, right? This is where the lines are blurred. While the majority of people who drink alcohol don’t struggle falling asleep at night, they may find that the quality of sleep they have is disrupted.
However, the good news is that research has shown that after two weeks of quitting alcohol, the majority of people see an improvement in their quality of sleep. Of course, it’s always good to remember that this can vary from person to person.
Quitting alcohol can impact your health in a number of ways. It can have a positive impact on your heart and liver health as well as improve your sleep quality andnutrient levels. So, even if quitting alcohol can’t repair all of the damage already caused, you’ll know that you’re doing your best to take care of your health and preventfurther damageoccurring in the future.