Thursday, October 11, 2012

Alcohol’s Effect On Homeostasis

Our body’s ability to maintain equilibrium, or homeostasis, is a wondrous trait, which allows us to survive an array of varying conditions while affronting our health against infection, poisons and harsh climates. It takes the cooperation of the entire body to achieve this effect. Hormones, for example, work to adjust the balance of the body’s electrolytes and fluids, while the nervous system helps to regulate the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems.

Our bodies ward off numerous challenges in its quest for equilibrium. Diets lacking in proper nutrients in the correct amounts will ultimately require out bodies to compensate. Depression and stress are additional factors, which have the ability to challenge the cardiovascular, endocrine and respiratory systems, thus weakening each system’s ability to maintain balance. Sleep deprivation, drugs, and exterior pressures all affect the body in similar forms.

When it comes to alcohol, the effect on the body’s equilibrium is both instantaneous and long-lasting. Even a casual drink or two requires our kidneys and liver to work overtime to properly process the toxins. And while most people’s systems are perfectly able to handle such a challenge, those engaged in abusive alcohol behaviors place their bodies at risk for more extreme issues.

One solitary night of excess places strain on the digestive, nervous and excretory systems. This is why a hangover is so often associated with fatigue, headache, digestive issues, etc.. Many people will experience a slight shaking sensation due to the disruption to the nervous system or sugar deprivation. In most cases, our bodies are able to address these issues, returning to homeostasis within a day or so.

Alcoholism, however, may work to seriously hinder the body’s ability to maintain balance. One of the more well-known issues associated with chronic alcohol abuse – cirrhosis of the liver – will eventually impair the liver’s functionality if left untreated. Without a properly functioning liver, equilibrium becomes impossible to sustain. As toxin levels escalate throughout the body, systems will eventually shut down, leading to an imminent death.

Well before our status escalates to life-threatening, these challenges to homeostasis incurred by excessive alcohol intake can inhibit our body’s ability to protect itself from additional exterior impacts to equilibrium; underscoring the importance of moderation, or seeking professional aid if you are unable to adhere.  


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