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Alcohol And It's Affects

Essay by 24  •  April 2, 2011  •  930 Words (4 Pages)  •  706 Views

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An estimated 3,000 people die or become seriously injured on British roads each year. 1 in 6 deaths involve drivers, driving over the legal alcohol limit. Department of transport statistics also show a gradual increase in alcohol related deaths since the year 2000 and these figures are still rising.

Alcohol -What is it?

Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and spirits. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars and starches. It is a central nervous system suppressant that affects every organ in the body and once taken can become rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. Alcohol is metabolised by the liver, however because the liver can only metabolise a small amount at a time, the excess amount of alcohol circulates the rest of the body. The intensity of the affect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed.

How alcohol affects the body.

As a central nervous system suppressant alcohol affects the nerves that pass messages around the body by slowing them down. The result is a slow down of reactions, loss of co-ordination, impaired judgement, slurred speech and double vision. It also affects parts of the brain responsible for self-control that can result in individuals taking unnecessary risks. Individuals can experience strong emotional responses that can result in aggressive, tearful or irrational behaviour.

Tolerance

Individuals can develop a tolerance to alcohol if they consume it regularly; this is because the body becomes familiar with the alcohol and its affects. As a result a regular drinker will need to consume more alcohol in order to experience the same affects as they had previously experienced.

As well as this, the amount of alcohol a person can tolerate is influenced by various factors these include:

Age: A younger person can be less tolerant to the affects of alcohol than an older person this is because their bodies are less likely to have developed a tolerance for alcohol than the body of an older person.

Gender: Females are generally smaller than males and have less body water and more body fat. Alcohol does not absorb quickly in fat but will absorb quicker in water.

Size and Weight: The amount of blood volume in the body will affect the concentration levels of alcohol in the blood. A smaller individual will have less blood volume than that of a larger individual this will result in the affects of alcohol being enhanced.

Physical Condition: The condition of an individual e.g. level of fitness, illness, medication as well others, will all influence the tolerance of alcohol. People who are physically more active may tolerate more alcohol than that of an inactive individual, like wise a person who is well compared to someone suffering dehydration may be more tolerant of alcohol. Certain types of medication may also affect the body's tolerance of alcohol.

Metabolism: How quickly the body digests and absorbs food and drink can also influence the body's tolerance of alcohol. If alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach the rate of alcohol absorption in the blood will be quicker than that if there is food in the stomach. It is estimated that a unit of alcohol will absorb within an hour on an empty stomach however the process of the absorbtion of alcohol will be slower if there is food and drink in the body.

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