Thursday, July 7, 2011

Feeling HUNGOVER after the 4th? Here's why!

If all of the 4th of July festivities have you feeling a little "under the weather", here is a little physiological insight into what's going on in that body of yours! Unfortunately, consuming too much alcohol results in the unpleasant feeling of THE HANGOVER.  You don't have to go to a bachelor party in Vegas to feel hung over after a wild and crazy night.  Hangovers can occur the day after a binge drinking "episode", lets call it, and can last up to 24 hours.  Symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and extreme thirst.  In more severe cases, people experience depression, anxiety, irritablity, and other mood alterations.

So what's the deal? Well, alcohol inhibits anti-diuretic hormone in your body which increases urine output.  Increased urine output causes elevated loss of fluid and electrolytes which is probably why you get the spins and feel lightheaded after you get up out of bed, or off your friend's couch for that matter.  Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting may be a hangover effect because alcohol irritates your stomach lining and gastric acid production.  Alcohol also disrupts your metabolism leading to lower blood glucose and higher lactic acid levels.  Hence, fatigue, weakness, and mood changes are seen after excessive alcohol intake.  Lastly, alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns and makes you feel tired kinda like jet lag. 

So how do you kill a hangover? Well, there are tons of so-called "remedies" out there but nothing really helps other than some good old fashion hydration.  Drinking water will minimize the risk of dehydration.  Consumption of food will help blood glucose levels to rise to normal. Taking a nap will help you with the fatigue. Antacids may help reduce nausea or abdominal discomfort, and an Advil may help your headache - BUT overall time heals all.

So next time you are planning on partying hard, remember to stay HYDRATED! Take water breaks, make sure that if you are going to drink, you don't drink on an empty stomach, and try to moderate your drinking.  Moderate drinking is considered 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.  Most importantly, drink responsibly, always have a sober driver, and don't fall asleep with your shoes on. Hope everyone enjoyed the 3 day weekend - I sure did :)

Yours in health,


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