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ALCOHOL:MAKING CHANGES

SESSION 1 PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL

DOH DEFINITIONS OF ALCOHOL USE

*SENSIBLE

HAZARDOUS

HARMFUL

MALE

3 4 UNITS

5 7 UNITS

>7

FEMALE

2 3 UNITS

4 5 UNITS

>5

PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD AVOID ALCOHOL

KNOW YOUR UNITS

LIVER CAN PROCESS ONE UNIT OF ALCOHOL PER HOUR Liver processes 90 98% of alcohol turning it into Carbon Dioxide and water 2 10% of alcohol is secreted in sweat, breath and urine

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
THROAT AND OESOPHAGUS Increased risk of cancer in mouth and throat (x3 the risk) especially for people who smoke and drink. Tear in oesophagus caused by repeated retching. Cancer of oesophagus (double the risk) Oesophageal varices

STOMACH
Nausea / vomiting/ acid reflux Gastritis inflammation of stomach Stomach Ulcer (peptic ulcer) PANCREASE Pancreatitis (inflammation of Pancreas) Diabetes MALNUTRITION Found in 29% of heavy drinkers caused by poor diet and impaired Absorption of vitamins (particularly B vitamins)

LIVER
Fatty Liver Fat deposits in liver no symptoms

Alcoholic Hepatitis
Inflammation of liver May lead to liver failure

Cirrhosis
Death of liver cells. May be fatal

All above problems may not be detectable on blood tests

CIRCULATION
High blood pressure Alcohol may be most important cause Risk of Stroke doubled among heavy drinkers Arrhythmias palpitations or uneven heart beat Heart Disease Cardiomyopathy (weakening of heart muscle) Increased risk of heart failure

Red blood cells swollen (macrocytosis) in 90% of dependant drinkers. This effects ability to carry oxygen leading to tiredness and lethargy, due to thiamine deficiency and toxic effects of alcohol on bone marrow where red cells are produced.

Immune system problems Alcohol decreases number of white blood cells which are important for fighting infections

NERVOUS SYSTEM
Nervous system problems are caused by deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1) Peripheral Parasthesia tingling in fingers and toes Peripheral Neuropathy numbness in fingers and toes Wernickes Encephalopathy abnormal eye movements, (may be very subtle) impaired gait, confusion.

If not treated, may lead to Korsakoffs Syndrome an irreversible form of dementia

SEXUAL PROBLEMS
MEN
Reduced libido, impaired sexual functioning, reduced fertility lower sperm count. Reduced testosterone.

WOMEN

Disruption of periods (amenorrhoea) Heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) Increased oestrogen Women should not drink when pregnant as this is a risk to foetus, risks include spontaneous abortion, still birth, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (growth deficiency and abnormal facial features).

ACCIDENTS
Alcohol related to:
45% of deaths through falls 39% of deaths through fires 25% of deaths through drowning

DEPENDENCY
Tolerance
The amount a person drinks without experiencing symptoms of intoxication. When people dont drink regularly their tolerance is low. If high amounts of alcohol are consumed regularly, tolerance increases it takes a lot more alcohol for a person to experience symptoms of intoxication.

Nervous system adapts to alcohol

ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL
If a person drinks heavily (15+units for a man and 11+ units for a woman) on a daily basis for several months and they stop or cut down significantly, they will experience alcohol withdrawals. Starts around 12 24 hours after drinking worse symptoms are 2 3 days after stopping drinking. Common Symptoms include: Tremor / Shaking Nausea and retching / vomiting Sweating Irritability Anxiety Restlessness Insomnia More severe symptoms include:

Disorientation Hallucinations Seizures (Delirium Tremors)

RECOVERY
5 Weeks
6 weeks 6 weeks 12 weeks

Replenished vitamin levels


Improved mood Improved sleep pattern Replenished red blood cells

SOME TIPS FOR CUTTING DOWN


Drink lower strength drinks Have a spacer Drink more slowly Eat before and while you are drinking Avoid friends who drink heavily Delay starting time Discover non-alcoholic drinks that you enjoy Dont drink to cope with stress or negative feelings Change your drinking routine Keep a diary of your drinking