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Health What experts REALLY want you to know about alcohol

03:26  13 january  2018
03:26  13 january  2018 Source:   nowtolove.com.au

What's Really Happening To Your Body When You Binge Drink

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THIS is what experts want you to know in order to keep you well. For most of us, alcohol is part of every celebration and major event in our lives, as well as a stress-relief strategy, but are we really making an informed decision every time we imbibe?

We’ve asked the experts to give us the lowdown on what we really should know about alcohol and our health. “In fact, alcohol is probably implicated in around 22 per cent of breast cancers, so if you have a family history and want to reduce your risk, you could reduce alcohol consumption.”

Sure, we all are an impartial to the occasional but do you REALLY know what it's doing to your body?: What experts want you to know about alcohol© Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd What experts want you to know about alcohol

For most of us, alcohol is part of every celebration and major event in our lives, as well as a stress-relief strategy, but are we really making an informed decision every time we imbibe?

We asked some of Australia's most respected health experts what they wish you knew about drinking.

1. Too much alcohol shrinks the brain

You don't have to drink every day to put yourself at risk for brain shrinkage that starts as subtle memory loss, leading over years to early-onset dementia. Three or four drinks most days or bingeing a couple of times a week is enough to cause irreversible damage. The damage is small at first but it slowly accumulates over years.

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Continued alcohol use leads to liver fibrosis and, finally, cirrhosis, in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue. Here is our collection of expert medical advice and information on alcohol consumption and your health: Is Alcohol Really Good for You ?

“It’s not clear that [ alcohol ] is really affecting biologically what’s happening to you ; it’s more likely that it’s affecting your judgment, your sexual practices, your choice of partners at the time, those kinds of things.” Keep up with what's happening now in the fight against HIV from foundation experts .

There is some evidence that a small glass of red wine daily could benefit brain health but the benefit is not profound and most people do not stop at one small glass. My advice would be that it's much better to steer clear of drinking. This is a serious issue – a person who wants to live a long and healthy life needs to have the strength to resist drinking too much.

™ Dr Bryce Vissel, neuroscientist and head of the Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research

2. Alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer

Alcohol consumption is a known cause of cancer but unfortunately awareness is very low – only about half of all Australians know that drinking causes cancer. These include cancers of the mouth and throat, which have a lower survival rate and tend to leave survivors debilitated. If you smoke as well as drink your risk is much greater than either of those two risk factors alone.

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In her book Expecting Better: Why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong and what you really need to know Emily Oster explains: “Your baby can actually process some alcohol , but not as much as an adult (obviously).

Alcohol can also cause oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast cancers. For women, alcohol consumption is one of the very few changeable risk factors for breast cancer. Even small amounts of alcohol increase your risk but if you do choose to drink, our advice is to stay within the official guidelines of no more than two standard drinks per day.

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We all know drinking can be fun every once in a while. It helps you loosen up, wind down and feel relaxed. Sometimes, it's hard to turn down a glass of wine or a cocktail after a really long day at work. What does a skin doctor have to say about alcohol consumption for your skin?

Here's what experts say to their own kids. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that by the age of 15, over one-third of teens have had at least one You may want to opt for a more casual talk that is more of an ongoing dialogue throughout their childhood and adolescence.

™ Kathy Chapman, dietitian and Director of Cancer Programs at Cancer Council Australia

3. Your liver is an incredibly sturdy organ - as long you treat it well

Excessive drinking can lead to fatty liver disease, scarring (cirrhosis), and death. And if you have an underlying liver injury, such as viral hepatitis or fatty liver, the risk of liver failure is increased.

The problem is, many people are unaware of early-stage liver injury because most symptoms don't occur until late, often when it is too late to heal a scarred liver. Women are increasingly drinking at the same levels as men and because of differences in body size and liver metabolism, they're at an increased risk of getting and dying from liver injuries such as alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis.

We're seeing women in their 30s diagnosed with cirrhosis and liver failure. Most people start drinking thinking they are in control, but for many there is progressive alcohol abuse, leading to liver damage. Yet many people refuse to recognise that they have a problem.

But in the absence of cirrhosis, most of the liver's function recovers as soon as you stop drinking.

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“Am I really an alcoholic ?” is a question that haunts a lot of heavy drinkers. Before you make the decision to stop drinking, you may go through weeks, months or even years of self-questioning about your alcohol use. You want your suffering to end, but you don’t know how to make it stop.

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™ Dr Paul Clark, hepatologist and board member of The Australian Liver Foundation

4. Alcohol isn't that good for your heart

There is some evidence that a small amount of alcohol isn't bad for your cardiovascular health, but that's a long way from saying it's actually good for your heart. The social nature and enjoyment of moderate drinking does have other health benefits, but drinking too much or binge drinking increases your risk of cardiovascular death and stroke.

Women are at higher risk for alcohol-related cardiovascular disease than men because they are generally smaller and have a different body composition. Alcohol adds to your total kilojoule intake no matter what you mix it with or whether or not you choose 'low-carb' drinks.

It also increases blood pressure and triglyceride levels, all known factors in coronary artery disease. The immediate heart-related effects of binge drinking, which include chest pain, irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath, are reversible if you stop drinking but not many people are aware that continued heavy drinking can lead to a condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, characterised by serious damage to the heart muscle.

™ Dr Andrew Rochford, emergency doctor and DrinkWise ambassador

5. If you wouldn't give wine to a baby, don't drink during pregnancy

When you drink during pregnancy, so does your baby. There's no safe level of drinking if you're having a baby. Alcohol can disrupt brain development in an unborn child and may lead to learning and behavioural problems due to irreversible brain damage.

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Expert Answers (Q&A). Staying Safe. Videos. But what do kids think about this issue? KidsHealth wanted to know , so we asked 690 kids ages 9 to 13. Most kids said teens who drink alcohol are not cool.

Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders are potentially 100 per cent preventable but are still prevalent in Australia. Because some women aren't immediately aware they're pregnant they may continue to drink in the early weeks, so the best approach is to avoid drinking if there's any chance you might become pregnant.

We encourage expectant fathers to avoid alcohol too, because research shows a partner's drinking is a big determinant in helping women to remain alcohol-free.

™ Professor Elizabeth Elliott, consultant paediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and child health advocate

6. You could be at risk, even if you're not an alcoholic

It's easy to see alcohol as just another consumer product when actually it's a drug. It affects your mood, relationships and physical health. We've seen an increase in the normalisation of alcohol consumption over recent years. Today it's much more socially acceptable to drink at any occasion, even at brunch get-togethers, kids' sporting events and school fetes.

Despite popular belief, most of the harms of drinking aren't about teenagers or 'alcoholics' but occur in the over-40s who are more likely to drink every day and simply consume too much alcohol.

It's important to be aware of why you're drinking, when you're drinking and how much you're drinking. Accept feedback from family and friends, be mindful about your drinking habits and ask for help if you need it.

™ Professor Dan Lubman, psychiatrist and director of Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre

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We're here to help: See what the experts say you should do when you have this important conversation. The NIAAA, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , recommends taking on a tone that is comfortable for (Check out what teachers want parents to know about school.)

But Dillon also acknowledges that, should a teenager experiment with substances and get drunk, wasted or otherwise intoxicated, it could help immeasurably if his parents or friends know how to provide the appropriate care. Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs includes some practical strategies that

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Do you drink too much? Watch out for these signs: <p>According to the World Health Organization’s <a href=Global status report on alcohol and health 2014, among people who drink alcohol, approximately 16 per cent of those aged 15 or older engage in heavy episodic drinking (defined by the report as “60 or more grams [2.5 ounces] of pure alcohol…on at least one single occasion at least monthly”). What’s more, in 2012, 5.9 per cent of all global deaths were due to alcohol consumption.

The WHO affirms that alcohol can lead to many negative consequences, including dependence and increased risk of more than 200 diseases, violence, and injuries.

What happens to your body when you consume too much alcohol, and how can you tell you’re drinking too much? Read on to find out.

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Do you drink too much? Watch out for these signs

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