Alcohol and the human body

Circulatory system

Circulatory System

The circulatory system includes the heart; a system of vessels called arteries, veins, and capillaries; and blood. Blood is pumped by the heart through these vessels, causing “circulation” throughout the body.

You may have read about some positive effects that alcohol can have on this system. Studies in adults have shown that a glass of alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) each day can help heart function. Drinking alcohol in moderation can help keep the balance of fat in the blood in the right proportions. This can help lower the chances of developing blocked arteries or blood clots.

But the science is clear that drinking more than two drinks each day may cause harm. Large amounts of alcohol can affect how the heart works. If the heart isn’t pumping blood throughout the body effectively, other organs may suffer from lack of oxygen or nutrients. If the person drinking has clogged blood vessels, the heart has to work even harder.

Have you ever noticed a person with red eyes and red, blotchy skin? These can be signs of cell damage, caused when small blood vessels plug up, starving the tissues of oxygen. Blood vessels also can break in the stomach and esophagus, leading to bleeding and even death.

Next: Endocrine System