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Harmful effects of Binge Drinking and some tips for liver health

 
  By : , Kochi , India       19.4.2018         Phone:0484 669 9999          Mail Now
  Kuttisahib Road, Near Kothad Bridge, South Chittoor, Cheranalloor, Kochi, Kerala 682027
 
 
 
Dr Mathew Jacob,
Consultant HPB & Liver Transpalnt Surgeon,
Integrated Liver Care, Aster Medcity,
Kochi

It’s the season when a lot of young people let loose with a lot of celebrations and parties. It’s a time when alcohol consumption increases. It’s a time when people lose their inhibitions and are not so careful about their health. Put together, this can lead to a dangerous situation – ‘binge drinking’!

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking takes place when one drinks alcohol to the point of getting drunk. It's defined as having 5 or more drinks in a row for men. For women, it is 4 or more drinks in a row.

For persons who go on binge drinking sessions, getting high and drunk is usually the main goal of drinking. The dangerous effects of binge drinking include dizziness which may lead to unconsciousness or passing out, loss of coordination, lack of judgement, belly pain, severe nausea, and repeated vomitings.

Binge drinking can also lead to unintentional injuries and accidents. These include motor vehicle crashes, falls, burns, and drowning. Binge drinkers can also lead to intentional injures due to gunshot or knife injuries, sexual assaults and domestic violence. On the medical aspect, binge drinking can lead to sudden rise in blood pressure, stroke, heart rhythm disturbances and heart attack. Individuals can develop serious liver damage known as alcoholic hepatitis as well as inflammation of the pancreas known as acute pancreatitis. Repeated vomitings can lead to tears in the food pipe. Some of these conditions can lead to prolonged hospitalization and can be life threatening.

Binge drinking can also result in alcohol poisoning that can cause death. Alcohol affects the brain, and in high quantitites slows down the breathing and heart rate. It also interferes with the gag reflex, which increases the risk of choking if a person vomits. If a person vomits when unconscious, the airway can become blocked, resulting in choking and sudden death. If a person who has been drinking a lot is confused, vomits, has a seizure, has pale skin, or passes out, it may be a sign of being very drunk.

People who often engage in binge drinking are more likely to develop a drinking problem. Binge drinking may worsen into alcohol use disorder where there is a lack of taking responsibilities at work and home, driving while drunk, physical dependence and loss of control. This may deteriorate into full blown alcoholism marked by a strong craving coupled with a loss of control. The person has a hunger for alcohol and finds it hard to stop drinking once started. The body also gets tolerant to alcohol and the person needs to drink more alcohol to get high. There will be less and less awareness of the dangerous outcome of continued drinking, with loss of willpower to stop drinking. In such cases, there is a need for psychological help, counselling and sometimes medical intervention.

Critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until age of 25. When young students in college indulge in binge drinking, it must be remembered that this can affect overall development of the brain. This puts them at greater risk for the consequences of drinking.

Excessive and binge drinking is deleterious to the whole body and and can even kill a person. So let us take care this festive season responsibly, avoid drinking alcohol and if one has to drink, then drink responsibly and in moderation.

The best way to fight liver disease is to avoid it!. As we observe Liver day, here are 13 ways to achieve liver wellness.

- Maintain a healthy weight: If you’re obese or even somewhat overweight, you’re in danger of having a fatty liver that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), one of the fastest growing forms of liver disease. Weight loss can play an important part in helping to reduce liver fat.

- Eat a balanced diet: Avoid high calorie-meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta) and sugars. Don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish. For a well-adjusted diet, eat fiber, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Also eat meat (but limit the amount of red meat), dairy (low-fat milk and small amounts of cheese) and fats (the “good” fats that are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish). Hydration is essential, so drink a lot of water.

-Exercise regularly. When you exercise consistently, it helps to burn triglycerides for fuel and can also reduce liver fat.

-Avoid toxins: Toxins can injure liver cells. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives. When you do use aerosols, make sure the room is ventilated, and wear a mask. Don’t smoke.

- Use alcohol responsibly: Alcoholic beverages can create many health problems. They can damage or destroy liver cells and scar your liver. Talk to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you. You may be advised to drink alcohol only in moderation or to quit completely.

- Avoid the use of illicit drugs: Drug abuse is on the increase . Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives) used non-medically.

- Avoid contaminated needles: Of course, dirty needles aren’t only associated with intravenous drug use. You ought to follow up with a medical practitioner and seek testing following any type of skin penetration involving sharp instruments or needles. Unsafe injection practices, though rare, may occur in a hospital setting, and would need immediate follow-up. Also, use only clean needles for tattoos and body piercings.

- Get medical care if you’re exposed to blood: If for any reason you come into contact with someone else’s blood, immediately follow up with your doctor. If you’re very concerned, go to your nearest hospital’s emergency room.

- Don’t share personal hygiene items: For example, razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers can carry microscopic levels of blood or other body fluids that may be contaminated.
Practice safe sex. Unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners increases your risk of hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

- Wash your hands: Use soap and warm water immediately after using the bathroom, when you have changed a diaper, and before preparing or eating food.

- Follow directions on all medications: When medicines are taken incorrectly by taking too much, the wrong type or by mixing medicines, your liver can be harmed. Never mix alcohol with other drugs and medications even if they’re not taken at the same time. Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and natural or herbal remedies that you use.

- Get vaccinated: There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.




TAGS: Binge drinking,   alcoholism,   alchohol abuse,   liver health,  




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