Alcohol – Effects on the Body

I’m a university student and you can bet that I’ve seen a lot of people under the influence of alcohol. They can be loud, giggly, emotional, and sometimes really tired.

I wanted to see just what effects alcohol has on our bodies, so posts about the different effects of alcohol will be popping up every now and then. For now, I thought it would be cool to see the list of effects alcohol has been found to have on our bodies.

Some of these effects are real extremes, so take them lightly. 🙂

List of the effects of alcohol on our body

Short-term effects

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Makes you urinate more frequently (stay tuned, we’ll be talking about this one shortly!)
  • Flushed appearance
  • Reduced cognitive and motor skills(which is why you shouldn’t drink and drive!)
  • Loss of inhibitions and more confidence
  • Blurred vision (aka beer goggles) and slurred speech
  • Intense moods, e.g. aggression, elation, depression
  • Headache
  • Blackouts
  • Alcohol poisoning, which is really lethal

Diseases/conditions (in extreme cases!!!)

  • Can lead to the development of heart disease after long-term excessive use.
  • Potential cancer developing effects
  • May cause pancreatitis, which can lead to the development of diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anemia

Effects on our reproductive systems?!

  • Linked to damaging fertility (extreme case)
  • Small amounts of alcohol can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle
  • Alcohol can reduce the amount of testosterone a man produces
  • May affect the quality of a man’s sperm

And this is just a sampling of all of the effects of alcohol. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be talking about urination so that we can get to explore the effects of alcohol on it the week after :).

So, take it easy with eggnog for now, ladies and gents. No need to binge drink, it may just lead to some unhealthy effects!

I will be on hiatus until the first week of January, due to the holidays but Happy holidays and Happy New Year 🙂 Stay safe!

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Blood Types

If you haven’t noticed, this month’s theme is appropriately set to ‘blood’ in honour of Halloween. So we might as well talk about the blood types, or groups, that we hear about so often.

Why do we have different blood types?

While blood is generally the same for everyone, where it contains red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma, there is one key component which differs. This component is a little protein and sugar marker, which is found on the surfaces of our red blood cells. These markers, also known as antigens, act as little flags to your immune system to tell it that the cells are part of your system and not an invader.

This is why blood transfusions can get so complicated; if your immune system recognizes the difference between the markers on your usual blood cells and the blood cells you received from a donor, then your immune system will attack those donor blood cells.

What are the different blood types?

A, B, AB, O

There are three different antigens: A, B, and Rh (which is discussed later).

The presence or absence of these antigens results in four major blood divisions:

    1. Type A – has the “A” antigen.
    2. Type B – has the “B” antigen.
    3. Type AB – has both the “A” and “B” antigens.
    4. Type O – has neither the “A” or “B” antigens.

The fact that Type O blood doesn’t have A or B antigens makes it easier for Type O to be donated to anyone, regardless of their blood types; the immune system cannot recognize Type O blood as an invader because it doesn’t have any antigens for the immune system to latch onto. Type O individuals, however, cannot accept any blood except Type O since its immune system isn’t accustomed to seeing any antigens whatsoever; the presence of an antigen on the donor blood would elicit an immune response.

+, –

The other antigen that might be present on our blood cells is the Rhesus factor (Rh).

If it is present, the main blood divisions (A, B, AB, or O) are assigned a plus sign (+): A+, B+, AB+, O+.

If the Rh factor is absent from the blood cells, they are assigned a minus sign (-): A-, B-, AB-, O-.

O- individuals are universal donors, because they do not carry any antigens which the immune system would be able to attack. AB+ individuals, on the other hand, have all of the possible antigens and therefore are the universal acceptors as their immune system is used to seeing each of the  antigens. This means it won’t attack any of the antigens!

Those are the different blood types. It’s important that you know your own blood type and the blood type of your loved ones in case of emergencies. It’ll be easier for doctors to determine which blood type to provide you!

Donating blood is also a great idea, though it isn’t for everyone. If you are interested in donating blood, contact your local blood donor clinic to check if you meet the requirements! 🙂

Have any suggestions? Why not place them here?

Diarrhea

Aw, poo! Is diarrhea getting you down? Well, seeing as I’ve mentioned diarrhea a few times, I thought it was about time that I explored the topic. So let’s find out what diarrhea is and why we get it. You may be surprised to find out just how great diarrhea can be, even though it’s definitely not pleasant in the moment.

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is runny or watery bowel movements (poo), where there is the characteristic loss in the form of the stool.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea is usually an immune response indicating that you are suffering a gastrointestinal infection that has been caused by an endoparasite. In other words, diarrhea is the symptom of an infection in your gastrointestinal tract.

These infections are usually highly contagious as it can be spread via dirty hands contaminating food or water. These hands could have been changing a diaper or a pet’s fecal matter or simply cleaning the toilet but not washed properly (c’mon guys, just wash your hands!).  Kids usually get diarrhea frequently due to their tendency of putting their fingers into their mouths.

When we suffer from gastrointestinal infections, our bodies want to excrete the ingested endoparasite that is causing the infection out as quickly as possible. In order to do this, the muscles in your digestive tract contract at a faster rate than usual. This can cause a sharp pain in your abdomen.

These fast contractions also prevents your intestines from absorbing water from your waste; this means that the water in your intestinal tract leaves the body with your fecal matter instead of being retained in your body. This is why you get dehydrated when you have diarrhea, which is why you need to drink a lot of water and electrolyte-containing drinks (as you lose electrolytes and nutrients with your stool too).

Final thoughts

Okay, so basically diarrhea is great in that it helps us recover from an infection faster by excreting the endoparasites once it’s been detected by our immune system.

So while it’s a pain to deal with, it really teaches us the importance of hygiene. If we wash our hands properly and sanitize our hands and other items, there will be less of a risk of getting an infection. However, there are some endoparasites that won’t be phased by this, so diarrhea will be inevitable. The best thing you can do to recover from this infection is to stay hydrated. Your immune system is taking care of you, don’t you fret.

Without diarrhea, your body could become the new home to awful endoparasites. So just remember, it’s for the greater good.