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The Effects Of Alcohol On The Body

1451 words - 6 pages

The Effects of Alcohol on the Body
(word count includes outline)

Alcohol can be helpful or harmful to the body depending upon the amount of alcohol consumed. Drinking in moderation increases life expectancy, reduces the likely hood of heart attacks and other diseases. Heavy drinking can lead to poor nutrition, liver disorders, strokes or heart attacks, and affect sexual desire and offspring.
Although alcohol is usually considered harmful there is growing evidence of health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption, approximately one to three drinks per day. A recent study at Harvard found that moderate drinkers tend to live longer than those who either abstain or drink heavily. The study found the risk of death from all causes to be twenty-one to twenty-eight percent lower among men who drank alcohol moderately, compared to abstainers. Furthermore, in a larger study of about 88,000 people conducted over a period of ten years found that moderate drinkers were about twenty seven percent less likely to die during the period. This was largely due to a reduction of such diseases as coronary heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases. (Alcohol and Health)

Moderate drinkers of alcohol are less likely to suffer heart attacks than those who abstain or heavily drink. Research conducted from 1900 to 1986 found a strong, consistent relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in American. Harvard researchers have identified the moderate consumption of alcohol as a proven way to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. These researchers concluded, ?Consumption of one or two drinks of beer, wine, or liquor per day has corresponded to a reduction in risk of approximately twenty to forty percent.? Alcohol can improve blood lipid profile by increasing HDL ?good? cholesterol and lowering ?bad? LDL cholesterol. Alcohol has also been found to reduce blood pressure and blood insulin levels and to increase coronary blood flow and estrogen levels. Moderate drinking reduces platelet aggregation and fibrinogen, a type of blood clotter. It also increases fibrinolysis, the process by which clots dissolve. Therefore, alcohol has an overall effect on blood clotting, or thrombosis.

The moderate consumption of alcohol appears beneficial to reducing or preventing diseases such as stroke and hypertension. According to a recent study in the American Heart Association?s journal, moderate drinkers are half as likely to suffer a stoke as abstainers. A recent Harvard University study found the lowest levels of hypertension among young adults who consumed one to three drinks per day. Sensible drink also benefits diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, pancreatic cancer, the common cold, and many more. (Alcohol and Health) As evidence has shown, alcohol is helpful to the body if consumed responsibly.

On the other hand, alcohol has many detrimental effects...

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