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A Downside to Holiday Cheer. What Alcohol Really Does to Your Liver.

The holidays give us a reason to celebrate. For many of us, alcohol plays a big part in the festivities. But too many glasses of good cheer too often can lead to something less than cheerful — an overworked liver. 

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the average American sees a 100 percent increase in drinking habits. Holidays aside, Americans are drinking more and for longer periods of time than ever before. The pandemic played a role in the increase, but research suggests we’ve upped the ante on alcohol use long before the COVID-19 crisis started.

Alcohol and Your Liver

The liver is the largest organ in your body. It helps digest food, store energy, and remove toxins. When you drink alcohol, an enzyme in the liver breaks down the alcohol so it can be removed from your body. 

Our bodies can only process one unit of alcohol per hour, which means if you drink more than one drink in that time period, your body is not able to process all that extra booze. This can trigger your liver to generate harmful substances that can damage liver cells, cause inflammation, and weaken your immune system. 

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, which causes liver inflammation and eventually cirrhosis, which creates scarring in the liver and may potentially develop into liver cancer. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is considered a silent disease, with few or no symptoms. The damage begins when you drink as little as four drinks a day for men and two drinks a day for women. 

Here are what experts consider to be a problem when it comes to consuming alcoholic beverages. 

Heavy Drinking – Consuming four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week (men) or three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks per week. 

Binge Drinking – Consuming five or more alcoholic drinks (men) or four or more drinks (women) in two hours. 

Check Your Liver Health 

You owe it to yourself to know if your drinking is hurting your liver. The Liver Function Panel at Any Lab Test Now consists of a simple blood draw that is used in seven tests to see how well your liver is working. This test doesn’t require fasting, and we provide the doctor’s order, so you can walk into your local Any Lab Test Now for a same-day test — no prep necessary. 

If you are drinking excessively, there are organizations that can help. SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a free, confidential 24/7 365-day a year helpline and can be reached at 1-800-622-HELP (4357). 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing to determine the health of your liver.  We want to be a committed partner in helping you manage your wellness routine so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life.


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Thinking About January, And We Haven’t Even Made It Through The Holidays!

I’ve already caught myself already thinking ahead to the new year, about my resolutions.  It might be because I stuffed myself at Thanksgiving and every party I go to has tons of amazing food and of course, cocktails.  I jump on the scale and just watch the digital numbers bump up ever so slightly each time (knowing even a little jump every day will eventually add up…).

So, now I reason with myself that if I at least plan for January, I’ll be ready to take off any weight gained early in the game and take better care of me.  Right… is that the guilt factor speaking to me?

So, here’s my plan to make it through the holidays:

  • I went and got my B-12 Shot to increase my energy.  I’m now ready to juggle everything I need to do to get ready for the holidays AND still have the energy to exercise (that is, as long as I make the time).
  • I need to get my cholesterol and glucose checked so I have a baseline after the new year.  With all the butter, sugar and other good ‘ole down-home food my family slaps on the table, I can only imagine what my results might look like after the first of the year.  Knowing where I am now may help keep me in check…
  • I will jump on my elliptical trainer at least 5 times per week.  I will, I will, I will!
  • Salad will become my best friend when I am not attending a holiday function.

Then, after January 1, I am going to make a new year’s resolution that works, and knowing my health on the inside as well as seeing how I look on the outside is what’s going to drive me to continue past January 31, the normal “end” to those resolutions we set for ourselves.

What is your holiday plan to Take Control of Your Health™?