Blood

woman poring wine into glass

The Link Between Alcohol and Cardio Damage

Not for nothing is it known as the Demon Alcohol. Its effects seem so lovely at first, your wit increases ten fold, your cares melt away, you’re instantly sharper of thought, your inhibitions vanish, you become spontaneous, the life of the party. Then, within hours, the low comes. Your stomach is sick, your head is ringing, the alcoholic bile sours your mouth. The highs of alcohol can be glorious, but the after effects can be rather unpleasant, and not only in the short term. Repeated use of alcohol can have long lasting effects on several organs of the body, including the heart. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is one of the many diseases caused by alcohol abuse. Here is some information on the condition and its health implications.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a heart disease which thins and weakens the heart muscle, interfering with its ability to pump blood. This disrupts the major functions of the body, which can lead to heart failure and other health problems.

The condition is most common in men between the ages of 35 and 50. People with the disease usually have a five to 15-year history of heavy drinking, which is defined as alcohol consumption exceeding daily limits. In men, that means more than four drinks a day, or more than 14 drinks per week, while in women heavy drinking means more than three alcoholic beverages per day or more than seven drinks per week. While cardiomyopathy is not always symptomatic, when symptoms do occur, breakdown they commonly include shortness of breath, swelling of legs and feet, and shortness go breath.

Causes
The toxicity of alcohol damages the heart muscle, which makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. The heart begins to expand to hold the extra blood, in time becoming thinned and enlarged. Eventually, the strain causes the blood vessels and heart break down and cease to function properly.

Treatment
The first step to treating cardiomyopathy is to stop drinking completely. A doctor may be able to assist with withdrawal symptoms. He or she may suggest that you begin a low salt diet, take diuretics to help increase the removal of water and salt from your body, and limit for intake of fluid to ease pressure on the heart caused by fluid retention. Your doctor may prescribe ACE inhibitors or beta blockers to reduce blood pressure. If the heart is damaged severely, the doctor may suggest a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator to help it pump.

Long Term Outlook
The long term outlook for people suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy is dependent on how long alcohol was abused, and the severity of the abuse. These are the factors that will determine the extent of damage. The lesser the damage, the greater the chance of complete recovery. If the damage is irreversible, it can be hard for the heart and body to recover.

If the disease is caught in early stages, however, the condition is treatable and, in some cases the damage can be reversed. The possibility of recovery is largely dependent on the individual’s willingness to avoid alcohol and to adhere closely to the plan of treatment.

If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol, we urge you to seek help. The effects of alcohol can be detrimental and dangerous.

Healthy, happy women.

Healthy pH For Your Body Part

“Hey, did I catch you off balance?”  “Were you balancing your books?” “Trying to get your life in balance?” Our government runs on a system of checks and balances and a balance of power. We need to balance work and life, good and bad, reward and punishment.  Our universe depends on balance, the positioning of planets and the forces of motion all depend on balance.  Our bodies depend on balance. If balance weren’t such big deal, why are we all doing yoga?

 In order to maintain equilibrium in our bodies, It is no surprise that balance is also important. Our bodies need to have a  healthy pH balance, that is the alkalinity in our body must be in balance with the acidity in our bodies.

Before we continue it should be noted that the kind of balance we talk about when we talk  about our bodies is not the kind of balance which requires an equal amount on each side, it is the balance of correct proportion.  Just as a beautiful face is not always perfectly symmetrical, a healthy body is not either.  The optimal pH balance for our bodies is a little bit on the alkaline side, with a  pH of 7.4 on a scale ranging from 1-14 and it is suggested that we eat a diet which puts the emphasis on alkaline foods as opposed to acidic food. But  it is not the acid content of the food that makes the difference, it is the way our different body parts respond to the acid.

Blood
When we talk about maintaining a 7.4 pH balance in our body, we really do not need to worry about our blood.  Our lungs and kidneys take care of keeping that number constant.  Rather, it is the body parts whose pH balance is less stable that  we need to worry about.

Cells
The pH levels of our cells tend to vary more than our blood and we need to make sure they stay slightly alkaline, so we need to watch our diet to make sure that they function at their best.  Alkaline diets provide magnesium, which is needed by our enzyme systems and preserve muscle mass while aging.

Urine
 The pH level of our urine is also worrisome,as it tends to vary as well.  To keep it stable, we need to avoid animal protein, grains, soda, beer, and sodium, which are hard for our kidneys to break down.  It is important that we get potassium and minerals from fruit to neutralize the acid.

Stomach
The stomach needs to remain slightly acidic in order to break down food.When you eat, your stomach releases  acid causing your stomach pH to drop to as low as 1 or 2. After the meal is digested, buffers in your stomach, such as mucous and bicarbonate, work to neutralize the acid, bringing your tummy back to a resting rate of 4-5. When levels of acid in our stomach are high, (which happens when we eat protein, especially red meat) our system seeks out alkaline nourishment in our digestive tract.  If it cannot find it, it will draw minerals from our bones. (This is an example of what happens when our bodies are not in balance.) It is why it is so important to eat a diet heavy in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium to make sure our system can find them when it needs to

Skin
The skin needs to be slightly acidic to support the acid mantle.  This is the skin’s barrier It blocks out germs, pollution, and toxins.  When skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and inflamed. It may stop fighting off enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles.  The ideal pH level for the skin is 5.5. If it is higher, it signals damage to the acid mantle which exposes your skin to bacteria and UV rays and may be a sign of excessive use of exfoliants and peeling products

If the pH of the skin is lower than 5.5, that probably nears you are overusing products designed to make skin less greasy.  If this is you, pay attention to scrubbing  and hydrating often.