What alcohol can do to the body

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PHOENIX -- There are surprising facts about what alcohol can do to the body.

A 20-year-old Arizona State University student is lucky to be alive after a night of excessive drinking over the weekend landed him in the hospital with a blood alcohol level of nearly six times the legal threshold.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio from Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center says there are warning signs that can help you know when you need to call the Poison Control Center or 911.

A drunken person will not just slur his or her speech. Skin can turn pale or even blue because lung function is being suppressed and the person may be cold to the touch because he or she has a lower body temperature and you may notice problems breathing and excessive vomiting.
He also says, over time it affects the body in these ways:  It can cause stretching and drooping of the heart muscle, it impairs the brain and puts a person at higher risk for stroke and high blood pressure.

In addition, drinking may affect the body of a woman in a more toxic way than a man and drinking at a young age is a severe danger. 

Teens who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after the legal age of 21.

What to do? 

If the person is unconscious or seriously ill, call 911.

If you have general questions call the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center.

About Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center

The Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center is a phone call away, and can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.

The center provides a free, 24-hour emergency telephone service for both residents and medical professionals of Maricopa County. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/poisoncenter

Sue Breding
Public Relations Specialist/Media Relations
Banner Health