Health Watch

By Jana Fagotti
September 25, 2003

This Thursday before you lay a hand on that tantalizing can of beer that you often enjoy, take a moment to consider if one night of obliteration is really worth all of the health risks that come with it. With the decision to drink, comes a whole new type of recycling that is neglected– your liver.

The Facts

The liver is “the body’s recycling center” according to Marilyn Sterling, R.D. The liver serves as a detoxifier against toxins in the body, such as alcohol. By impairing the liver’s functions, there is an increase in the risk of developing future diseases such as Cirrhosis of the liver.

“Cirrhosis of the liver is the fourth most common cause of death among people between the ages of 30 and 50, and the eighth most common killer overall. A liver affected with this chronic degenerative disease becomes hardened and scarred and eventually so damaged it can’t function because normal blood flow through it is blocked,” according to Sterling.

The Risk

Is the partying now, really worth the risk?

The Cabrini Apartment Complex is among the residence halls that experience a far from serendipitous drunken Thursday evening each week. CAC resident, senior Teresa Holland, is perched on the pillow cushion of her couch as she expresses her feelings on the health risks associated with alcohol consumption. ” In the long run I guess it sucks, but if you live your life to the fullest, that’s all that matters,” Holland said.

Across the room seniors Brooke McGuinn and Stephanie Zane talk with Holland. “I don’t even drink that much, but it’s not something I think about,” Zane said. “It’s your life. You’re going to do what you want,” McGuinn said.

Down the hall, juniors Matt Sanick and Brad Santo sit typing on their computers. Beer paraphernalia lines the walls of their double room. “What health risks?” Santo said. “Everything’s a risk now,” Sanick said.

Next door senior Pete Kulick has company. While sitting comfortably on his couch with his friends, Kulick is more than willing to state his opinion on the risk factors involved in drinking. “If you consider all of the health risks, nothing’s going to be fun. If you drink too much water you’re going to die. If you drink too much beer you’re going to die. Anything in excess is not good.”

Still, “The highest prevalence of both binge and heavy drinking in 2000 was for young adults ages 18 to 25, with the peak rate occurring at age 21,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Regardless of statistics, the decision to drink is in the hands of the drinker. Even before the decision is made about which bucket to throw the beer can away, the decision is made as to whether or not to throw their life away first.

Posted On The Web By Rob Cain

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Jana Fagotti

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