Alcohol and Your Lungs

girl-1064664_1920Alcohol is a legally permitted drug. Some people react badly to just one drink, and others need a huge amount daily just to maintain their “functional alcoholism”. Depending on whether you live in a wine or whisky producing country, or one that follows sha’ria law; the facts change and opinions on “safe” doses or “units” differ wildly.

But why worry? Alcohol has been around since the dawn of time, and we all need a little “wyn vir die pyn” now and then. But what we are not understanding is HOW it can affect health in more ways than we realize.

In people who have breathing difficulties, alcohol can also be a factor that can reduce breathing function. But many people with asthma or sleep apnoea are not assessed for alcohol consumption in any meaningful way, and many are not warned that drinking alcohol can trigger symptoms.

Alcohol isn’t only bad for all the reasons we already understand, like causing liver issues and insulin problems, gout, depression and social issues – but also has severe effects on how we process and uptake oxygen from our lungs.

Alcohol actually uses our lungs for metabolism. This is how the traffic police can tell exactly how much you have been drinking – despite your protestations that you only had one drink…and can fine you accordingly.

The lungs are also an excretory system. Although we don’t realize it, our lungs process and release toxins from our bodies constantly. That is also why you can smell a drinker from their exhaled breath…because excess alcohol is expelled from the lungs via breathing.

So if you have asthma or any other breathing issue, you should save your lungs for oxygen and refuse that second glass of wine.


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