Now that the holiday season is underway and people justify a drink or two in the winter chill, some drinkers are likely to experience hangovers. There are many theories about this, the main one being that alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is toxic at high levels. However, to reach that level, you have to be very greedy. Typically, hangovers, characterized by a heavy head, listlessness, nausea, imbalance of motor functions, and general malaise, occur because alcohol interferes with sleep hormones and brain activity, causing lack of sleep. That is why people often also complain of headaches and heartburn, since the drink impairs the digestive processes and increases acidity. This state of irritation occurs when the level of alcohol in the blood drops, which causes a form of withdrawal syndrome. So, let’s understand some common beliefs about drinking alcohol and discover ways to deal with hangovers. A word of caution: people with co-morbidities are advised not to consume alcohol without consulting their doctor.
1) A little alcohol is good ?
A little alcohol is good because it makes me hot and takes away the chills: This is not true. Alcohol causes vasodilation, or expansion of the blood vessels, and therefore the surface of the skin feels hotter. However, this causes heat loss from the body and this heat, in turn, is drawn from deeper tissues and vital organs. In fact, the patient becomes more prone to organic damage as the core temperature drops.
2) Is dehydration the only reason people have hangovers?
Not at all . It is also due to the accumulation of toxic metabolites of alcohol, as well as chemicals that are added due to excessive consumption. This alters the electrolyte balance and interferes with immune and brain activity, causing thirst, nausea, dizziness and poor attention span.
3 ) How do I know what my alcohol limit is?
Everyone’s ability to drink without getting drunk or high is different. There is no fixed formula for safe drinking, although many recommendations say that men should not take more than two units a day and women one. One unit is considered 10 ml and it is said that 14 weekly units should not be exceeded. But this does not take individual thresholds into account. You should stop immediately when you feel dizzy and your brain is affected to the point of disinhibition. For example, talking more than necessary in a socially inappropriate way.
Safe drinking means taking small amounts of alcohol slowly, along with a large amount of food to neutralize its effects and prevent a binge. People who do not have diabetes should eat enough carbohydrates while drinking. Experiments have shown that light spirits like vodka and gin don’t cause as much of a hangover as darker drinks like whiskey or wine. While alcohol contains ethanol, darker spirits contain related chemical compounds such as methanol.
4) How should diabetics drink?
For this group of people, alcohol consumption on its own may not raise blood sugar levels. That depends on the type of food that is eaten or not. If the stomach is empty, the liver releases stored glucose into the bloodstream to maintain blood glucose levels. But when alcohol is taken, it is first metabolized by the liver and influences the release of glucose, leading to low blood glucose levels. If you had alcohol with dinner, check your sugar levels on a monitor, as the symptoms of low blood sugar and drunkenness are the same and can be confused with each other. Diabetics should dilute their drinks with water instead of juices and opt for grilled appetizers or salads as a side.
5) What are the tips and tricks to get rid of a hangover?
There is no 100% effective method to get rid of a hangover. But certain tips can help.
(a) Drink enough water with minerals and electrolytes, some tea and coffee: Alcohol increases urination because it inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that decreases the volume of urine produced by the kidneys. If you get dizzy and vomit, your dehydration worsens. Water is hydrating, while tea and coffee can have a stimulating effect.
(b) Take a shower with lukewarm water.
(c) Eat dry snacks, such as toast or cookies. Part of the fatigue and hangover headaches may be because your blood sugar levels drop and your brain can’t energize enough. In this way, you can get your energy levels back to normal.
(d) Take a pain reliever only if you have a headache: Anti-inflammatories work for temporary relief. However, some studies claim that people whose food and drink intake contained higher amounts of zinc and B vitamins had less severe hangovers. Therefore, eat a proper and nutrient-dense meal before going out to party; don’t go on an empty stomach.