Thursday, March 15, 2012

Health Care and Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking alcohol in moderation has certain health benefits as noted by numerous articles that have been published over the last few years. Information published by many notable sources states that certain antioxidents in fermented red grapes provide a way to help improve cholesterol.

According to the Mayo Clinic, antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of it with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That's because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body. Still, many doctors agree that something in red wine appears to help your heart. It's possible that antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits.

However, drinking too much can lead to detrimental health effects on your body. Alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone, but it is very common among adolescents and college students. According to CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov, some people laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk. Some think it's even funnier when they pass out. But there is nothing funny about the aspiration of vomit leading to asphyxiation or the poisoning of the respiratory center in the brain, both of which can result in death.

Do you know about the dangers of alcohol poisoning? When should you seek professional help for a friend? Sadly enough, too many college students say they wish they would have sought medical treatment for a friend. Many end up feeling responsible for alcohol-related tragedies that could have easily been prevented. Common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or shower, sleeping it off, or walking it off. But these are just myths, and they don't work. The only thing that reverses the effects of alcohol is time-something you may not have if you are suffering from alcohol poisoning. And many different factors affect the level of intoxication of an individual, so it's difficult to gauge exactly how much is too much.

Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions. It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication. You should also know that a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off. More info can be found at this site: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/otheralcoholinformation/factsaboutalcoholpoisoning.aspx .

According to several studies and research that has been conducted on the causes, signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning, there are more than 50,000 cases of reported alcohol poisoning each year in the United States and there is approximately one death per week as a result of alcohol poisoning, as stated by the website AlcoholWithdrawalSymptoms.org. Alcohol poisoning, also referred to alcohol overdose, is a life threatening condition that occurs when someone consumes excessive amounts of alcohol. When the amount of alcohol consumed increases beyond the normal level of blood in the human body, the body cannot metabolize the alcohol as quick as it is being ingested, resulting in a variety of unpleasant symptoms and the serious consequence of alcohol poisoning. The alcohol poisoning symptoms begin to manifest as a way of showing the body that it has reached its peak in alcohol and the system is no longer capable of handling it. Understanding the causes of toxic reactions and the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, as well as the responsible approaches to avoiding the situation, may help prevent the fatal results of alcohol poisoning.

Although there are significant symptoms of alcohol poisoning, it is important to keep in mind that everyone may not present the signs and symptoms in the same order. Alcohol is a depressant and it will have an effect on the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary actions including gag reflexes and breathing. Vomiting is typically one of the first signs of alcohol poisoning, however, it is possible for someone to pass out and vomit while unconscious. The following are the typical order in which alcohol poisoning symptoms occur:

■ Feeling ill, nausea and vomiting: Alcohol is irritating to the stomach, so vomiting is common; however, alcohol poisoning may cause the person to have violent and drawn-out episodes of vomiting. If they want to lie down, it is important that the head is turned to the side in order to prevent choking.

■ Mental confusion and/or stupor: Someone with alcohol poisoning may become extremely dizzy, disoriented and confused. They may have slurred speech, difficulties making eye contact and/or display erratic behavior.

■ Seizures: A seizure from alcohol poisoning is due to the intoxication of the brain cells and diminishing reflexes of the body, which result in muscular spasms. If the person is shaking uncontrollably, it is vital that safety be the primary concern. If they are lying on their back, roll the person on their side in case of vomiting during the seizure to prevent choking.

■ Irregular and slowed breathing: Alcohol is a depressant to the central nervous system, which can cause someone to stop breathing. Slow breathing, less than eight breaths per minute is a sign of alcohol poisoning. A sign of irregular breathing is when there are gaps lasting ten seconds or longer between breaths.

■ Hypothermia: Hypothermia, low body temperature is an extremely dangerous symptom of alcohol poisoning. The skin may feel clammy or cold to the touch. The skin will become pale or blue-tinged. When the body temperature has a dramatic drop, it may lead to cardiac arrest.

■ Unconsciousness or passing out and cannot be roused: It is important to remember that even after the person has stopped drinking, the alcohol level in the bloodstream continues to rise. The absence of reflexes while unconscious depresses the gag reflex and increases the risk of choking on vomit. It is common to think that if someone passes out, they will sleep off the effects of the alcohol; however, this instead can lead to a coma and eventually death. The loss of consciousness is the most critical alcohol poisoning symptom as the persons system has begun to shut down due to the high levels of alcohol.

Treatment for alcohol poisoning basically depends on the stage of advancement. Vomiting is the first step because it will help to purge the alcohol from the system. Medical personnel will typically pump the stomach or if the person is awake, they may be given a drinkable charcoal treatment. Typically when someone is admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, they are given oxygen therapy, fluids through an IV to prevent dehydration, given glucose and thiamin, they are monitored for breathing difficulties and/or choking. Alcohol poisoning is an extremely serious condition. When treatment is not immediately administered, the person can suffer with severe consequences including irreversible brain damage and in the worst case scenario, death. More details can be found on this site: http://www.alcoholwithdrawalsymptoms.org/46/alcohol-poisoning-symptoms/ .
 
Drinking irresponsibly is not smart, and in fact is very dangerous. The more alcohol you consume and the faster you consume it in a short time frame can send your brain and body into cataclysmic results. Be very careful when you have the opportunity to drink alcohol. And, by far, abstinence from alcoholic beverages is best. However, if you must drink, do so in moderation and be very careful not to mix drinks. Also, have a designated driver available if you have over inbibed. Your health, your brain, and your body will all thank you profusely for avoiding alcohol poisoning.
 
Until next time.

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