The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Did you know that April is Alcohol Awareness Month? This month, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence urges us to think about alcohol use and abuse. Parents and grandparents are asked to speak with their loved ones about the effects of drinking and alcohol use. Here are a few tips for those wanting to observe this important health holiday:
- Observing this month-long event can be done as an individual or as a family.
- Raising awareness about alcohol use means spreading the word. This doesn’t mean you have to organize a rally (by all means, go for it if you’d like to!) or boycott locations that serve alcohol, but rather raising awareness with your friends and loved ones. Learn the facts.
- Enjoying alcohol doesn’t mean you have alcoholism, but knowing your limits is important.
- Drinking to excess is dangerous no matter what health conditions you may have. Whether you are suffering from a chronic lung disease or you embody the image of optimal health, binge drinking seriously impacts your ability to function and your overall health. Additionally, high alcohol consumption raises your chances of being in dangerous situations such as drinking and driving.
- Learn these six fast facts about how alcoholism could affect you and your lungs.
- If you’re suffering from a chronic lung disease like COPD or interstitial lung disease, heavy drinking can have major health consequences.
- Alcohol can be highly destructive to your lungs. Some studies have shown that heavy drinking can raise your risk for developing conditions like COPD because it can reduce your total lung capacity; this means binge drinking could definitely worsen your condition or lead to a flare-up.
- Heavy alcohol consumption has been connected with an ongoing decline in lung function, which makes it difficult for your body to efficiently transfer oxygen to your blood.
- Glutathione is an antioxidant found in your lungs. Since drinking alcohol lowers your body’s glutathione levels, it can aggravate your COPD symptoms and cause a flare-up.
- Alcohol consumption is associated with decreasing lung function in patients with lung disease. Alcohol can also decrease your ability to clear mucus from the airway, which could pose a serious health risk if you’re experiencing life with COPD.
- Alcohol is known to interfere with several different COPD medications, including steroids and antibiotics. It can also increase the effects of anxiety and pain medications to the point that your heart and breathing slow down to a dangerous, sometimes fatal, level.
Being diagnosed with a chronic lung disease doesn’t mean you can’t drink alcohol; it just means you have to be more careful. Know your limits; know the consequences; and know when to stop. If you or a loved one is dealing with the debilitating consequences of alcoholism, seek help immediately. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is located all over the country, which offers help to any sufferers. Talking to someone is the first step to a better life. The same rule applies to treating your chronic lung condition. If you are ready to get help and finally breathe easier, contact the Lung Institute to learn about your treatment options at (800) 729-3065.