WE continue with the lockdown being a security measure to keep us safe, in the comfort of your lockdown, lock in some facts pertaining to drugs, alcohol and substances of abuse to the respiratory system.
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it will slow down your nervous system. However, if the liver cannot keep up with your alcohol consumption, then the alcohol will build up and lead to you becoming intoxicated, which cause certain functions controlled by your nerves to be impaired. Alcohol can cause problems with your breathing in a variety of ways. However, the most immediate breathing problem is after the alcohol leaves the stomach. So if you are on medication, you may want to refrain from drinking alcohol. For example, if you consume a moderate to high amount of alcohol before going to sleep you can put yourself at risk of experiencing “obstructive sleep apnoea”.
Alcohol is a substance that enters the bloodstream after being processed by the stomach, directly impacting the nervous system, liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs. Once you consume an alcoholic beverage your body develops a blood alcohol level (BAL). The BAL measures how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream in comparison to the other components that are normally found in your blood, such as oxygen. A high BAL indicates that the drinker has a higher proportion of alcohol in his blood than a low BAL would suggest. In this case, the higher level of alcohol challenges the person’s oxygen proportions in the blood.
Blood sludging is the clinical term used to describe the phenomenon between alcohol and your red blood cells, which, in turn, impacts your body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Once alcohol has entered your bloodstream, it causes your red blood cells to clump together. The clumping makes it so that the small blood vessels become blocked or plugged. As a result, the tissues and organs in your body are unable to receive oxygen from the blood. Without oxygen, cells, tissues and organs cannot function properly.
Alcohol can lead to oxygen desaturation in the body. Oxygen saturation refers to the percentage of haemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen. According to Association of Critical Care Nurses, the normal value for oxygen saturation is between 97 percent to 99 percent. For an individual who drinks alcohol, the alcohol causes a desaturation effect, thereby reducing the oxygen absorption in haemoglobin. This impacts the tissues and organs in the body, causing them to experience a suffocation effect, as they are not receiving an adequate level of oxygen from the blood.
Be safe, stay at home and be sober during this time as we work hand in glove in dealing with the life threat at hand.
If you need help or know someone who needs help call or WhatsApp +263772399734 or email [email protected] Join the Rechabites in creating a drug-free healthy and productive society.
lMthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist, addictions counsellor, adolescent counsellor and professional counsellor.