Being in your 20s is way different from when you are in your 40s, and your alcohol intake has different effects at this two different stages of life.
As we approach middle age, alcohol has a detrimental effect on our health, and its intake should be highly reduced.
Health experts analyse some of the things alcohol could do to you at this stage.
1. THE HEART
You know how important your heart is to your well-being, and anything that affects your heart can be said to affect your health. A high alcohol intake at this stage increases your risk of stroke.
According to Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation: “Excessive alcohol also damages the heart’s ability to pump, a condition called cardiomyopathy which increases risk of heart failure.”
2. YOUR WEIGHT
Research has shown that drinking alcohol can control the hormone leptin, which controls appetite, and this can cause you to eat in excess.
Alcohol is also a source of sugar which raises insulin and turns on fat storage by increasing fatty deposits in the body. In middle age (i.e. your 40s), excess alcohol can lead to fat storage around the stomach – a major reason why many middle-aged men have big belly.
Alcohol can also have negative effects on your liver. According to Dr Debbie Shawcross, consultant hepatologist at King’s College Hospital Liver Unit: “The liver may start out a little fatty and then if you continue heavily drinking between say 40 and 55, the fat and inflammation creates scar tissue and the liver shrinks and – for about one in six people – can lead to cirrhosis or liver disease.”
“Those at risk are not just chronic alcohol abusers, but also middle-aged, professionals who drink a little too much most nights.” She says.
The British Liver Trust reveals that the liver has the ability to heal itself and suggests you have three consecutive non-drinking days each week.
4. THE BRAIN
According to Professor Wallace: “Alcohol gets through the blood-brain barrier where it works as a depressant,”
“We feel quite excited and stimulated when we drink because it’s having a depressing effect on controlling behaviours such as judgement, self-monitoring, planning and reasoning,”
“Over time this gives you a higher propensity to mood problems such as anxiety and depression.” He says.
5. THE SKIN
According to Professor Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, alcohol causes a flushing of the skin in those prone areas. According to him, “This can trigger rosacea, a chronic redness in the skin because the blood vessels enlarge and produce more blood flow. Though the redness can go down, over time it can lead to a permanent enlargement of the blood vessels and visible thread veins on skin.”
And according to Professor Lowe: “Alcohol can make people stressed and anxious and this stress produces the androgen hormones that stimulate acne.”
According to Dr Gillian Lockwood, fertility specialist and medical director of Midland Fertility, excessive alcohol consumption lowers testosterone levels and reduces sperm quality and quantity.
A Danish study which observed over a thousand couples found that couples who avoided alcohol totally got pregnant quicker than very light ‘social’ drinkers and even had a lower rate of miscarriage.
While a glass of red wine might be good for your heart, anything in the excess might harm your health.