Table of contents
- Normal levels for the body
- Affects Homeostasis
- Short Term affects
- Medium-term effects
- Long term effects
Homeostasis is the maintenance of a steady state within the body despite changes in the external environment. The steady state is the optimum level for the body’s functions. For homeostasis to work the system needs to have sensors, a comparator, a set point, effectors, feedback control and a communication system. In humans, two systems need to be working together to allow homeostasis to occur. These are the endocrine system and the nervous system. The endocrine system is the system that helps produce around 50 different hormones into the blood. These hormones then activate or stimulate various organs throughout the body. The hormones also help to control and metabolism. The system is made up of endocrine glands which are all controlled by the master gland. The master gland is split up into two different parts, the anterior lobe, and the posterior lobe. Hormones made in the posterior lobe are released to the urinary system and in females to the uterus and breasts. The anterior lobe controls the hormones for the adrenal gland, thyroid gland, bones and muscles, skin and the testicles and ovaries, hormones are also responsible for the way that we react to the different environments. The nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cords and is split up int three parts the Central nervous system or CNS, the peripheral nervous system or PNS and the vegetative nervous system. It is calculated that a nerve impulse travels 90m per second inside the nerves. When a nerve impulse I transmitted before it is transmitted to the next impulse it has to wait 0.001 seconds.
When the brain wants to send messages to the body or the main organs want to communicate with the brain the messages are transferred by neurons. There are three main types of nerve cells they are the sensory neuron, the relay neuron, and the motor neuron. Neurons are the cells that make up the nervous system, their job is to transmit impulses by electrical signals to the brain and periphery. periphery is the outside or superficial portion of a body, the human body has around one hundred billion neurons, neurons are protected by other nerve cells called glial cells which constitute more than half of all organisms nerve cells. Every neuron is made up of a body, an axon, and many dendrites, neurons have the ability to regenerate tissue once it is lost and some neurons can regenerate if they have been damaged.
Alcohol is an ingredient within drinks that can make you drunk. This is called ethanol, its made from yeast ferments the sugars in grains and fruits and vegetables. For example, wine is made from sugar in grapes and vodka is made from sugar in potatoes. Alcohol is classified as a drug and can be highly addictive if consumed in high amounts. Alcohol is actually a depressant and affects the way you think, feel and behave. It also slows down the messages that travel between your brain and body. A few drinks can make you feel more relaxed, slow down your reflexes and reduce your concentration levels. However, too much drinking can lead to slurred speech, reduced coordination, confusion, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness, and sleeping.
Normal levels for the body
For us to understand how the body completes homeostasis we first need to know what the body starts at. So, the body like to stay at a nice and toasty 37 degrees Celsius but can sometimes be slightly higher depending on the weather where you are. If the bodies temperature goes up over the 38 degrees Celsius the body probably has a fever. Now the heart needs to stay at a constant rate while resting because if it goes above that there is most likely a major problem. the body likes to keep it between 60 and 100 beats per minute while resting, if it is higher, it is wise to go see your doctor immediately because you may be at risk of blood clots, heart failure or sudden cardiac arrest. The same goes for your blood pressure the national average for blood pressure is between 120-129 systolic and 80-84 diastolic. If a person has higher blood pressure, they are at risk of having either a heart attack or stroke because the high blood pressure causes hardening and thickening of the arteries. Maintaining a normal blood glucose level is important because it can help prevent a particular disease. That is why diabetics have to be so careful because if they do not control their blood glucose levels they could suffer from heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, and eye problems. For non-diabetics, normal blood glucose levels are 4.0-7.8mmol/L. To work out the bodies pH levels you need to take a sample of a person's urine to see how acidity or alkalinity they are. The human body sets the pH levels a 7.4 which is just above neutral level if the human's pH levels get too high or too low there is a serious risk that they could die or suffer kidney failure. The body requires large amounts of water to help keep all of the vital organs running. On average humans lose an average of two and a half to three litres of water every day, it can be more based on the weather conditions or the amount of physical activity completed in long durations of time.
Homeostasis is the maintenance of a steady state within the body despite changes in the external environment, the steady state is the optimum level for the body’s functions, alcohol is a drug that affects the body and brain. When the body's homeostasis is disturbed the body acts to restore homeostatic balance. It acts to bring the affected area and levels back into the normal range. The whole individual's behaviour becomes directed towards helping restore homeostatic balance. Alcohol addiction affects homeostasis because alcohol is continuously overstimulating parts of the brain. As a result, the brain has difficulty achieving the ideal balance and has to adjust to cope with the addictive substances reactions. This is called allostasis and once the original homeostasis is changed and the allostasis is reached, the brain requires the addictive substances to be able to maintain the new point of balance. Alcohol affects the body's blood sugars levels and insulin effectiveness. As the amount of alcohol drunk increases, the effectiveness of insulin is decreased leading to the levels of blood sugar increases. However sometimes when consuming alcohol can lead to insulin secretion which leads to lowered blood sugar levels. Alcohol affects sleep homeostasis because sleep latency is consolidated and increases the quality and quantity of NREM sleep. NREM sleep is the recurring sleep state during which rapid eye movements do not occur and dreaming does not occur, accounts for about 75% of normal time. Alcohol increases the blood flow that goes to the stomach resulting in larger amounts of stomach acid which is a bad combination with alcohol and what leads to your vomiting. Over-consumption of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning because the brain is basically shut down from all the alcohol meaning that homeostasis is majorly disrupted by this.
Short Term affects
Why alcohol may be nice to drink and helps people relax after a long, hard day at work. Alcohol affects every single person different for example it may take a bigger build person longer to feel the effects of alcohol than it would for a skinny person. Same goes for a person that drinks regularly they may take 5 drinks to get drunk whereas someone that does not drink often may get drunk after one drink. Some short term effects of alcohol consumption are impaired judgement, slurred speech, vomiting and being unable to walk without help. When drinking your judgement becomes impaired due to the alcohol slowing down the brain activity in the parts that are responsible for self- judgement. This may make a person less nervous to engage in conversations or believing that driving while drunk is a good idea. When the person drinks too much alcohol their coordination is affected majorly, and they are usually unable to walk properly without assistance. This is because the brain becomes less associated lowering the brain's ability to manage the movements leading to the person being clumsy, unable to walk in a straight line or even standing up. When drinking if a person drinks a few too many their speech may suddenly become slurred and hard to understand. This effect is due to the alcohol affecting the brain meaning they will lose control over the muscles in their tongue and face due to the person being restricted blood flow to the muscles. The most common effect from over-consumption of alcohol is vomiting, but why doe this happen? Well, it happens because alcohol is actually a toxin and easily upsets the digestive system, too much alcohol can actually inflame the esophagus and stomach lining. Vomiting allows for the mixture of alcohol and stomach acid that is affecting the stomach lining to exit the body and take the pressure off the stomach.
While it would be nice if there were only short-term effects from the consumption of alcohol however there are some effects that last more than 24 hours and can sometimes happen for up to two weeks. Some of the effects include diarrhea, breathing difficulties, headaches and drowsiness, and most would be unpleasant to be suffering from. When drinking a person may get diarrhea because alcohol disrupts the digestive system, so the alcohol will go through the small intestine getting the alcohol absorbed and all the excess is pushed out of the body by the urine and poo. The colon muscles move in coordinate squeezes to push out the poo, and alcohol speeds up these squeezes not allowing water to be absorbed like normal, causing the poo to come out as diarrhea often very quickly and with lots of water. Some people when drinking can suffer from breathing problem and have to be very careful with just how much they drink. This is caused because some peoples body just don't agree with alcoh0l or they could be allergic to alcohol. It is believed that there are actually components within the alcohol that are leading to the breathing problem it is sulfites. Everyone knows that alcohol affects the brain and slows it down so why do people suffer from headaches after drinking. This happens because some of the chemicals within the alcohol react with the brain they trigger headaches and for some unlucky people migraines. Headaches usually occur over the days after the alcohol consumption as the alcohol levels lower within your body. The main factors that affect how severe the headache is the amount of alcohol that was consumed the night before and how much sleep the person had gotten that night.
Long term effects
Unfortunately, sometimes for a drinker the line between a few social drinks and alcohol abuse becomes fuzzy and there are some very serious long-term health effects from when this occurs. Such as brain damage, fertility issues such as low testosterone levels, inflammation of the liver and heart problems. Overdrinking causes brain damage because as heavy amounts of alcohol enter the body the harder it is for the liver to process meaning excess alcohol travels to other parts of the body like the heart and brain. Alcohol causes ‘blackouts' when consumed in large amounts so constant ‘blackouts' can lead to permanent damage. they will suffer from memory loss and affects the brain from retaining any new memories, for example, an alcoholic may not remember what they had for breakfast. The most common term of brain damage caused by alcohol is called a wet brain and is linked to the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which are two forms of dementia.
Alcohol abuse over a long time can affect the testosterone levels within men, meaning their sexual parts such as the testicles and prostate will be affected. The testosterone levels are affected because the alcohol damages the Leydig cells within the testicles that produce the testosterone. Alcohol has the effect to increase the stress hormone cortisol within some people and decreases the testosterone production, alcohol increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen within the body. While testosterone may decrease in the testicles it has been found that it increases within the brain which helps to explain why some people get overly aggressive or have rapid mood changes when they become overly intoxicated and why so many assaults occur while people are drunk.
The liver is the organ that is responsible for getting rid of harmful chemical that could affect the blood. It takes the liver 1 hour to process on an alcoholic beverage as it can only process so much at a certain time. When alcohol is drunk in rapid succession all the excess alcohol is left and goes into the blood, affecting the heart and brain that is how people get drunk quickly. Alcohol abuse causes the liver cells to destruct and results in the liver being seriously scarred, this scarring may even lead to liver cancer. Many heavy drinkers get the disease fatty liver disease or alcoholic hepatitis which can further develop and be fatal. Fatty liver disease is a build-up of fats within the cells of the liver to the point where at least 10% of the liver is fat.
In conclusion consumption of alcohol has a side effect of the body and the process of homeostasis. It has been shown what are the risks are for those that want to drink alcohol even for one night of over-consumption and the serious risks for those that cross the line into alcohol abuse. The body does so much work to maintain homeostasis and drinking just adds extra stress on your organs and could lead to major problems later and life.