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Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the United States as a result of its use being legal for individuals over the age of 21; its role in social, business, and private functions; and its central nervous system depressant effects. Even mild to moderate use of alcohol can result in issues with health and numerous side effects.
The World Health Organization reported that in 2014, 5.1 percent of the total worldwide burden of disease and injury was associated with alcohol use.Alcohol and Headache
According to the National Headache Foundation, ethanol (the psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages) can produce headaches in individuals through several different mechanisms.
Alcohol use may trigger diarrhea in some individuals. According to medical sources:
Certain conditions may increase the risk of having diarrhea as a result of using alcohol.
Alcohol use may raise the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Alcohol affects the functioning of the liver, which affects levels of glucose. The liver plays an important part in blood glucose regulation and stores glucose as glycogen, which it can convert to glucose and release into the bloodstream. When individuals drink alcohol, the liver suspends its other functions to metabolize the alcohol in the system and rid the body of the alcohol. This inhibits the liver’s ability to release glucose into the bloodstream and can result in decreased glucose levels in an individual’s blood. This decreased glucose level can continue for several hours after one has stopped drinking alcohol, as the liver can only metabolize a specific amount of alcohol per hour.
It is a mistaken assumption to assume that alcohol use directly causes cancer in the majority of cases, as the evidence regarding the relationship of alcohol use and cancers suggests that alcohol use increases the risk that individuals may develop certain types of cancer. A risk factor is some type of condition that when present can lead to an increased probability that some disease or disorder may occur. Its presence neither guarantees that one will or will not develop the disease or disorder, but simply increases the probability that the disorder will develop.
According to an article published in The International Journal of Cancer in 2006 between 3 percent and 3.5 percent of all cases of cancer were directly attributable to alcohol use; most of these were liver cancer cases where alcohol use can be directly tied to the development of the cancer. However, the number of cases of diagnosed cancer where alcohol use was a contributing factor is most likely far larger and cannot be reliably estimated.
Research has determined that even mild to moderate use of alcohol may be associated with an increased risk for numerous types of cancers. Exactly how alcohol contributes to this increased risk is not understood; however, according to the American Cancer Society:
It is not well understood how the use of alcohol increases the risk for the development of cancer, but there might be several different associations.
Although some studies have reported that low to moderate use of alcohol can decrease the risk of certain types of diseases, such as stroke or heart attack, both the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association do not suggest that individuals excuse their use of alcohol or begin drinking alcohol in an attempt to prevent certain diseases.
First of all, research on the protective effects of alcohol use are mixed. They indicate that it is not the ethanol but other substances in beverages like red wine that may have protective effects. In addition, research shows that sound dietary habits and proper exercise and rest have far more beneficial effects than the use of alcohol.
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