Drinking too much alcohol can give you a beer belly.
As well as getting out of shape, men who drink too much are at risk of getting liver disease or having a stroke.
As a man, there is often pressure to prove yourself to the boys by drinking a lot and doing it fast. Drinking to excess can be a big issue as you are twice as likely as women to abuse or become dependent on alcohol, and it can seriously affect your health.
If you’re a man who regularly drinks above the weekly guidelines of 14 units, you are at an increased risk of health issues, from low energy and poor sleep in the short term, to heart disease and cancer in the long term. You’re also twice as likely to develop liver cirrhosis and have nearly twice the chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure. You might think that only older men need to worry about the effects of alcohol but actually about a more than a quarter (26.6%) of deaths of men aged 16 to 24 can be attributed to alcohol.
NHS recommendations for both men and women are designed to help you to stay at a lower risk level. The recommendations use units of alcohol (which are a measure of the amount of alcohol in your drink).
- Men should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week and its best to spread these units over the week and not drink them all in one single occasion.
- If you drink a large amount of alcohol on one single occasion its recommended that you try to drink more slowly, drink with food and alternate with water or a soft drink.
So, why does all this matter? Well you might wake up one morning, look at yourself in the mirror and think ‘Where has that hangover come from?’ You can take the self-assessment to find out if you’re drinking at levels that might be contributing to your hangover.
Beer belly is an expression used to describe a man who has a big round stomach. Four pints of beer is approximately 1000 calories, which is a similar amount to eating a large take away pizza and chips. As well as adding to weight gain, drinking alcohol at higher levels can also increase the risk of disease and serious health conditions. Research shows that men who regularly drinking more than 2 pints of strong 5.2% lager a day:
- Are more than three times more likely to get mouth cancer
- Could be three times more likely to have a stroke.
As well as cutting back on the alcohol it’s also worth carefully considering your diet and the amount of activity you do. Have a look at www.lets-get.com to find out more information.
Drinking too much alcohol makes you not perform.
Sometimes called ‘brewers droop’, alcohol depresses the central nervous system, which means it can make it difficult for some men to get, and keep, an erection.
About 6% of men in the UK are “high risk” drinkers. This is someone who drinks more than 51 units a week. Sometimes, when you have drunk alcohol you may feel more confidence or feel less inhibited. But drinking alcohol can affect your performance in the bedroom and if you and your partner are trying for a baby it can reduce the chances of conceiving.
Often, problems in the bedroom are related to drinking alcohol and when you reduce what you drink the effects on your sex life can be quickly reversed:
Alcohol is directly toxic for men’s hormone levels and the functions of their sperm. Excessive drinking can harm sperm production by stopping the sperm from developing correctly and reducing their abilities when swimming to the egg. Alcohol can also affect the structure and movement of sperm by stopping the liver from properly metabolising vitamin A (which helps the sperm to develop).
Studies have shown that alcohol reduces testosterone levels. This can lead to loss of libido and reduce sperm quantity and quality.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, which means it can make it difficult for some men to get, and keep, an erection (the infamous ‘brewer’s droop’).
Heavy drinking can, of course, have more serious consequences than wobbly pecs. It can also cause gout, an arthritic condition that causes inflammation, swelling and pain in your joints that is most common in men aged 30 to 60. In the long term, drinking to excess can have many adverse effects on your health, including increasing your chances of:
- liver disease
- heart disease
- disease of bones
- type 2 diabetes
- your pancreas becoming inflamed
- your stomach becoming irritated
- anxiety and depression
Maybe she has a point.
If you’re a man who regularly drinks above the daily unit guidelines your at risk of a whole host of health issues- from low energy and sexual difficulties, to heart disease and cancer.
If your other half is always complaining that you are drinking too much alcohol or that you’re spending too much time at the pub, then maybe they have a point.
42% of marriages end in divorce (ONS England &Wales, 2013). Alcohol can contribute to relationship problems and arguments. Click here (link to self assessment) to complete a self assessment on your drinking levels and find out if your better half might have a point.
Reasons you might want to cut down:
- You’ll have more time for things you’ve always wanted to do.
- You’ll save a lot of money.
- You’ll feel happier.
- You’ll be less likely to have arguments with those around you.
- You’ll sleep better.
- You can have a positive influence on your children’s own view of alcohol and the choices they make.
- You’ll have more energy.
- It can help you lose weight.
- Your memory of a night out will be better.
- You’ll be less likely to develop high blood pressure.
- You’ll be less likely to develop serious health problems such as heart and liver disease.
Tips on cutting down:
- Switch to low-alcohol lager.
- Stick to single shots of spirits.
- Have a soft drink before each alcoholic drink.
- Replace alcohol with your favourite soft drink.
- Eat a meal before drinking.
- Pace yourself at celebrations, sports events and leaving dos.
- Delay the time you start drinking.
- After work, play football, join a gym or go to the cinema instead of the pub.
- Practise how to say no to alcohol when it’s offered to you.
- If you’re going out with people who drink heavily, try to avoid buying in rou• nds (you could always get the first round and then opt out).
- Let your friends, family and work colleagues know you’re cutting down and ask them to be supportive.
- If you’re stressed, chill out by going for a walk instead of drinking.
If you are the partner of the person drinking at a high risk, here are some helpful suggestions to help your partner deal with the problem:
- Cover-ups allow a drinker to continue drinking in peace. One effective method of helping someone realise they might have a problem is to allow them to deal with the full consequences of their actions. This means not doing things like call in sick to work for that person or make excuses for his or her drinking to family and friends.
- Try not to talk about general ways in which alcohol is bad such as, “drinking is unhealthy”, but rather mention specific ways that drinking harms your relationship.
- Only talk to your partner when he or she is sober and calm. Soon after an alcohol-related problem occurs is a good time to talk because the issue is fresh.
- When bringing up drinking behaviours with a partner there can be strength in numbers. Involve family members and friends, ideally people you both trust.
- Tell your partner what will happen if he or she fails to seek help or stop drinking. Explain that this isn’t a threat but a way to protect yourself from the consequences of alcohol.
- Either as a couple or one-on-one get some support. Outside support can greatly help a relationship.
For further advice and support on alcohol please call 01384 426 120 for the adult drug and alcohol treatment service at Atlantic Recovery Centre, Dudley Road, Lye.