This Valentine’s period, many of us are thinking about the healthy lifestyle changes we want to make for the rest of the year. Do you plan to exercise more? Lose weight? Quit smoking? How about cutting down on alcohol intake? While that last question may have prompted a highly resistant shake of the head from many readers who enjoy their after-work beer or a glass of wine with dinner, there is no better time to review your alcohol intake.
Those of you who drink are likely to have experienced the dreaded at least once. Feelings of sickness, dizziness,, and are all caused by drinking too much the night before.
However, symptoms of excess alcohol intake can begin long before a hangover. In fact, alcohol can cause problems soon after the first sip.
According to the , excess alcohol consumption can increase levels of fats in the blood, which are called triglycerides. High triglyceride levels are known to contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, known as, which can raise the risk of and .
When we drink alcohol, the liver breaks it down so that it can be eliminated from the body. Drinking too much over time, however, can cause the liver to become seriously damaged.
Heavy alcohol intake can lead to alcoholic fatty liver disease - characterized by a buildup of fat in the arteries - alcoholic hepatitis ( of the liver), and alcoholic (severe liver scarring and structural damage).
Alcohol and cancer
Ready to cut down on drinking?
§ : do you want to give up alcohol completely, or just limit alcohol intake to once or twice a week? Set yourself a goal of how much you want to drink and when. The NIAAA recommend having some alcohol-free days
§ : if you are more likely to drink around certain people or environments, try to avoid such scenarios
§ : it can be hard to turn down a drink when offered one, especially on special occasions, but having a polite "no, thank you" at the ready. The organization's module on may help
§ : aim to consume no more than one standard alcoholic beverage per hour when drinking, sip it slowly, and make every other drink a nonalcoholic one such as water or juice
: eating food alongside an alcoholic beverage means that the alcohol will be absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly.