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Early aging and an increased risk of breast cancer. How alcohol affects women's health
Early aging and an increased risk of breast cancer. How alcohol affects women's health

Drinking alcohol does not benefit anyone. For women, this bad habit is dangerous in its own way. Together with the national project "" we tell you why and what consequences this can lead to.

Early aging and an increased risk of breast cancer. How alcohol affects women's health
Early aging and an increased risk of breast cancer. How alcohol affects women's health

Why alcohol is dangerous to women's health

In general, the human body reacts to alcohol according to the same mechanisms - as to a toxin that needs to be eliminated as soon as possible. But women and men have their own characteristics of its perception, even when the same amount of alcohol enters the body. The reason for this is physiology: in a woman's body, alcohol lingers longer.

Firstly, the liver of men more actively secretes the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which is responsible for the breakdown of alcohol. Secondly, with equal weight, women usually have a higher percentage of fat, and men - water: alcohol retains fat, and water helps to disperse. For the same reason, intoxication in women occurs faster.

In addition, women become addicted to alcohol faster. According to statistics, health problems requiring the help of specialists arise four years earlier than men.

Consequences of frequent alcohol consumption

1. Early aging

Alcohol stimulates urination by suppressing the production of antidiuretic hormone. From this, the body becomes dehydrated. The lack of fluid is felt by the skin - for example, wrinkles appear prematurely. In addition, after alcohol enters the body, it directs all its forces to remove it from the body, and the breakdown of nutrients fades into the background. As a result, the absorption of vitamins and minerals deteriorates, which negatively affects the condition of the skin, hair and nails.

In addition, alcohol can lead to oxidative stress: too many free radicals (reactive oxygen species) are produced in the body, which destroy cellular structures. This is one of the risk factors for early aging.

Also, early formation of the corneal arch is associated with the use of alcoholic beverages - the accumulation of lipid deposits on the border of the cornea of the eye, which looks like a white edging. It is also called the senile arch, because usually people over 50 are faced with this ailment.

2. Heart disease

Drinking alcohol is accompanied by an increase in heart rate and sometimes an increase in blood pressure. If alcohol is consumed frequently, these symptoms can develop into tachycardia and hypertension, and lead to atrial fibrillation - an irregular or rapid heart rate.

In addition, alcohol entering the bloodstream damages blood vessels and even leads to their early aging. It also affects the heart muscle and contributes to the development of cardiomyopathy - weakening of the myocardium. All these problems are relevant for men, but for women the risks are higher, because they are much more likely to damage the heart muscle. All this also increases the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure and stroke.

3. Breast cancer

How alcohol affects women's health
How alcohol affects women's health

In 2020 alone, 741,300 people in the world were diagnosed with neoplasms caused by alcohol consumption. Alcohol can trigger many types of cancer, including breast cancer. Moreover, according to statistics, the mammary gland is more susceptible to its carcinogenic effect than other organs: the risk of neoplasms in the breast in women increases with each glass they drink.

This is because ethanol and its by-product acetaldehyde can affect DNA structure and hormonal levels. Alcohol also damages tissues, thereby increasing the absorption of other carcinogens.

Avoiding alcohol is an important factor in reducing your risk of breast cancer. However, this does not guarantee 100% protection. Therefore, it is important to regularly independently examine the mammary glands: this will help to notice the appearance of neoplasms in time and prevent the development of the disease. More information about other causes of cancer and symptoms that you should not turn a blind eye to can be found on the official portal of the Ministry of Health of Russia. It also contains up-to-date information about possible methods of treatment and receiving psychological support, as well as stories of people who have overcome the disease.

4. Diseases of the liver and kidneys

These organs are involved in removing alcohol from the body - therefore, they suffer more than others. Negative consequences arise for two reasons:

  1. Alcohol filtering is an extra time-consuming job that puts off “core responsibilities”. The kidneys, for example, can even be injured from a suddenly increased load.
  2. Toxins destroy cells, lead to tissue scarring and inflammation. The liver is able to regenerate them over time, however, due to frequent exposure to toxins, this function can weaken, and at the same time there will be less time for regeneration.

Possible consequences are urolithiasis, renal failure, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver. The risk of death from the latter in women is twice as high as in men.

5. Disorders of the brain

Alcoholic drinks reduce the volume of the brain and, in general, negatively affect its function. First, they weaken neural connections, which can impair memory and other cognitive functions. Secondly, they suppress the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which regulates the functioning of the nervous system, which is the cause of slurred speech, imbalance, lapses in short-term memory and slow reflexes.

Some of the symptoms appear at the time of intoxication, others after. Excessive and frequent alcohol consumption can also cause the development of certain diseases:

  • Dementia is an acquired dementia commonly experienced by people over the age of 60. It is characterized by impairment of attention and concentration, ability to make decisions and assess risk.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a form of amnesia that occurs due to a lack of thiamine (vitamin B1). Causes problems with remembering new information, paralysis or tremors of the eye muscles, impaired coordination and blurred consciousness.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy is a brain disorder associated with liver failure. The liver does not cope well with filtering toxins, they enter the brain with blood and cause cognitive impairment: problems with thought processing and disorientation.

6. Problems with conception

You cannot drink alcohol during pregnancy - this is a well-known fact. The fetus is not able to cope with toxins in the same way as the body of an adult: this can lead to miscarriage, early childbirth, low birth weight, developmental disabilities or the formation of fetal alcohol syndrome.

But even before conception, alcohol negatively affects the reproductive system. Excessive alcohol consumption reduces fertility and the number of eggs ready for fertilization. Some studies say even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to get pregnant. Also, due to the effect on the hormonal system, it can cause early menopause, and in women already in this stage, intensify symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.

7. Depression and anxiety

How alcohol affects women's health
How alcohol affects women's health

Alcohol affects the work of neurotransmitters, they are also neurotransmitters that are responsible for transmitting signals from the nerve cell to neurons, and from them to muscles and glandular tissues. In fact, they regulate our mood and condition. Immediately after entering the body, alcohol activates the production of dopamine and endorphins, thereby making a person happy and relaxed.

But the euphoria does not last long: with an increase in the dose, the mood changes to sadness and apathy. This is due to the fact that the body gets used to the available dose of happiness hormones and needs more. In addition, in the process of decay, alcohol forms tetrahydroisoquinoline, a substance that suppresses the production of serotonin and dopamine. A bad mood and even causeless anxiety can occur the next day, dehydration of the body will contribute to the enhancement of the effect.

If you drink alcohol frequently and in large quantities, you have a chance to experience insomnia, depression and anxiety. In addition, if a person has already been diagnosed with one of these disorders and is undergoing treatment, alcohol can negatively affect the effectiveness of the drugs taken and make the symptoms brighter.

These are just some of the possible consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. All in all, this bad habit is associated with more than 200 health problems. Moreover, many of them can occur not only in avid alcoholics, but also in people who drink only occasionally. If it seems to you that there is a lot of alcohol in your life, but you cannot refuse or at least reduce alcohol consumption on your own, you can turn to specialists for help. You can find them at the Ministry of Health of Russia. It also contains useful online conferences, articles, statistics and news on the topic.