1. Health & Lifestyle

Cheers or Tears! Dependence on Alcohol May Lead to..

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The liquor was in demand as without the same the life is nothing, not even caring for the Jaan (Life) for the Jahaan (Existence). It may be occasion of the three cheers or tears!

After 40 days of relaxation in the lockdown for the Liquor, due to curbs eased. The Liquor stores overwhelmed. The scene was visible in North, East, West and South. It may be Andhra Pradesh or any other city in India. Hence, be it in Delhi or Kolkata, Bengaluru or Jaipur, and be it in the poshest locales or lower middle-class colonies or slums.

It was in front of liquor shops that people queued up for kilometres, jostling with each other, often not wearing masks, violating social distancing protocols, and in many cases, leading the police personnel to use force to disperse crowds or authorities to shut down shops.

The spike in alcohol sales has alarmed health experts and officials around the world, who are concerned that increased drinking could make people even more vulnerable to the respiratory disease.Alcohol has been flying off the shelves as people try to combat boredom during lockdown, with some reports estimating that alcoholic beverage sales surged by 55 percent toward the end of March.

“Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,” the WHO stated.

Though there’s still limited data on the link between alcohol and COVID-19, past evidence shows alcohol consumption can worsen the outcomes from other respiratory illnesses by damaging the lungs and gut, and impairing the cells responsible for immune function.

When someone is exposed to a virus, the body mounts an immune response to attack and kill the foreign pathogen.

In general, the healthier a person’s immune system is, the quicker it can clear out a virus and recover from a disease like COVID-19.

By default, alcohol makes it harder for the immune system to gear up and defend the body against harmful germs.

“Alcohol has diverse adverse effects throughout the body, including on all cells of the immune system, that lead to increased risk of serious infections,” said Dr. E. Jennifer Edelman, a Yale Medicine addiction medicine specialist.

In the lungs, for example, alcohol damages the immune cells and fine hairs that have the important job of clearing pathogens out of our airway.

“If the cells lining a person’s airway are damaged from alcohol, then viral particles, such as COVID-19, more easily gain access, causing immune cells, which fight off infection, to not work as well, leading to increased overall risks of more severe diseases as well as complications,” said Dr. Alex Mroszczyk-McDonald, a practicing family physician in Southern California.

Similarly, alcohol can trigger inflammation in the gut and destroy the microorganismsTrusted Source that live in the intestine and maintain immune system health.

“Alcohol intake can kill normal healthy gut bacteria, which help to promote health and reduce risk of infection,” Mroszczyk-McDonald said.

“Research has shown that high doses of alcohol (around 14 drinks per week or more than five to six drinks at a time) does directly suppress the immune system, and that alcohol abuse is associated with increased risk of infectious diseases,” Mroszczyk-McDonald said.

That said, evidenceTrusted Source also shows that even smaller amounts of alcohol can affect the immune system.

Mroszczyk-McDonald advises against drinking more than a couple times a week, and only having two to three drinks at a time.

For those who have a risk factor for COVID-19, like heart disease or diabetes, he recommends drinking even less.

“Those at increased risk should cut down or abstain from alcohol because every little thing an individual can do to improve the health and reduce risk is worth it at this point, even if the evidence is not entirely clear,” Mroszczyk-McDonald said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. surgeon general have warned people to avoid drinking too much alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alcohol can have a range of harmful effects on the body, which can diminish a person’s immune response and put them more at risk for COVID-19.

Consequently, health experts recommend drinking no more than a couple times a week, if that.

Those who have any of the known risk factors for COVID-19, like heart disease or diabetes, should drink even less.

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