Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a drink? Keep these things in mind

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and many of you will mark the holiday by consuming traditional Irish fare such as corned beef and cabbage. Many of you may be planning to celebrate the anniversary of the saint’s death by another consuming another favorite Irish provision: whiskey.

But, for those of you who’ve commemorated the fifth century passing of St. Patrick, you know you’re not limited to consuming only whiskey; alcohol of any variety is acceptable  – green beer automatically comes to mind…

I personally don’t drink, but should you decide to on March 17th, there are some important things to keep in mind. Consuming too much alcohol, even on a single occasion, can negatively affect your health.

For instance, did you know that alcohol can increase your risk of developing breast cancer? Here are some other health impacts:

  • Brain – alcohol disrupts the brains ability to communicate within itself. Coordination, mood and behavior are often distorted when drinking too much.
  • Liver – drinking too much can lead to inflammation such as fibrosis, cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Heart – high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeat and a stretching and drooping of the heart muscle can occur if drinking a lot over a long time or too much on even a single occasion.
  • Cancer – aside from raising your risk of developing breast cancer, imbibing to frequently can increase your risk of developing mouth, throat, esophagus and liver cancer.
  • Pancreas – when drinking, a toxic substance is produced by your pancreas that can lead to inflammation and swelling of blood vessels, preventing proper digestion.
  • Immune system – if you drink regularly, you’re more liable to get pneumonia or tuberculosis. Even if you drink too much one time, your immune system is weakened up to 24 hrs afterward.

On March 18th, many of you may wake up to the aftermath of celebrating too ardently. Causes of hangovers include dehydration, immune system inflammation, an increase in stomach acids and low blood sugar.

Symptoms of hangovers include:

  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Poor or decreased sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Dizziness or ‘the spins’
  • Shakiness
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Mood disturbances

For many, drinking in moderation is ok. In fact, some may even benefit from drinking small quantities of alcohol. But your genes, environment and diet play a role in how alcohol can affect you.  So, proceed with caution when drinking and know when enough is enough – St. Patrick wants you around to help celebrate next year.

Photo credit: toyohara

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