Drunkenness destroys the immune system of young people

An interesting study was conducted recently by scientists from the city of Chicago, USA. The authors of this study claim that although young people are less likely to suffer from severe hangovers after alcohol abuse than older people, heavy alcohol intake significantly suppresses their immune system (that of healthy young people).

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention /CDC/, 1 in 6 adults in the United States consumes alcohol 4 times a month, most often alcoholic beverages are drunk by young people aged 18 to 34.< /p>

Drunkenness in US law is called when a person’s blood alcohol level is 0.8 per mille and above, people with such blood alcohol levels are prohibited from driving.

The indicated blood levels are reached after 4 drinks for women and 5 for men, taken over a period of 2 hours. For comparison, in Bulgaria, this indicator is even lower – 0.5 ppm of alcohol in the blood, at which, according to the Road Traffic Act, it is absolutely inadmissible to drive a car, and driving with 1.2 ppm of alcohol in the blood carries criminal liability.< /p>

The results of previous studies have shown that people seeking medical help with injuries in most cases suffered these injuries while under the influence of alcohol and that alcohol increases the risk of injuries, particularly falls, burns, gunshot wounds, traffic accidents and other types of trauma.

In addition to all the other negative effects of alcohol abuse, drunkenness lowers the body’s ability to recover from injuries and its resistance to infection.

Dr. Elizabeth Kovacs, one of the co-authors of the study, stated that until now we have not had a full idea of ​​the extent to which the harmful effects of alcohol abuse have on our immune system.

In her research, she studied 8 men and 8 women with an average age of 27. Before the tests, each participant drank 4-5 drinks of vodka, i.e. 200-250 ml and enough to meet the definition of drunkenness.

Blood samples were taken from the participants 20 minutes after reaching the peak of intoxication, and when examining the state of the immune cells, it was found that their functions were inhibited or, in other words, suppressed.

Blood samples were subsequently taken 2 and 5 hours after the peak of alcohol intoxication, respectively, and the tests showed reduced activity of the main immune cells compared to when the participants were sober.

The greatest reduction in activity, under the influence of alcohol, was found in leukocytes, especially monocytes and natural killer cells, which are considered essential components of the immune system. In addition, an increased level of certain cytokines – proteins that signal the immune system that it is time to reduce activity – was observed.

The intervals for blood sampling were not chosen by chance – in these periods, people most often go to the emergency department, because they got it as a result of alcohol intoxication.

In the future, the authors of this study plan to conduct a similar study among patients admitted to burn units to compare the immune system parameters of drunk and sober patients.

The new study will also measure the patients’ immunogram scores, and compare the extent of lung damage, the extent of total multiple organ failure, and the death rate in both groups.

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