Effects of alcohol

While drinking there were a few physical things going on with me that I know now were the effects of drinking alcohol on a regular basis.

As long as I can remember, my hands would shake. My dad’s hands shake and so do a couple of my brothers’. All of whom are regular drinkers, but I just thought it ran in our family. All the books I’ve read, the majority of the authors noted their hands shaking and that’s often what clued them in that they were drinking too much, as this is a sign of alcohol addiction.

I was fortunate enough to go through menopause early, and I had typical problems with brain fog. Research states that it is quite common to have cognitive fogginess going through menopause but it generally fades once menopause is done. There were times when I was driving I would feel uncoordinated, had delayed reaction time and just a general niggling feeling like I wasn’t in control behind the wheel. And this happened when I was sober. It wasn’t all the time, but when it happened it was very noticeable. I had a hard time explaining it and still do, but things just weren’t right. I completed menopause 5 years ago, and I continued to experience this sensation driving.

Two things happened to me this year physically that I feel I had rather miraculous recovery. They both happened after I stopped drinking. The first one, I took a fall walking my dogs. Because I had two German Shepherds, one leash in each hand, when I tripped on the curb and fell forward, my hands were tied up in the leashes, I was unable to use my hands to break my fall so I fell flat on my face. I was certain I broke my nose and even more certain I had a concussion. I didn’t black out but I had a bloody nose and developed 2 black eyes. Much to the chagrin of my husband, I didn’t go to the hospital right away. Working in the medical field, a number of my nurse friends encouraged me to go get a CT scan, just to make sure I didn’t have a micro bleed on the brain. I finally went to the ER 5 days after the fall, and guess what?? I hadn’t even broken my nose!!!

The second thing was that I was diagnosed with a kidney stone 5 years ago. One attempt at lithotripsy did nothing, so my urologist just followed me over the years, monitoring it and it never moved, nor did I develop any more. As I mentioned, when I quit drinking, I started an exercise program which included some aerobic activities like running in place, jumping jacks, etc. Also, I nearly doubled my water intake. In May I woke up with excruciating low back pain, and almost immediately knew it was my stone. Long story short, it was confirmed that the stone had finally started to travel and I ended up having it surgically removed.

I share these stories because I am convinced that my shaky hands, my brain fog (and a host of many other physical problems) was related to my regular intake of alcohol. There is no way to prove it, but I think my healing process from injuries and also being active and generally healthier, helped me recover faster. How much was the alcohol affecting my bone growth? I was diagnosed with osteopenia 3 years ago. I just had another dexascan and will have it reviewed at my next doctor’s appointment in September. We’ll see if there’s any positive changes!

Just all the more reason and motivation for me to stay alcohol free!!

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