Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' will run throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode I looks at alcohol's damaging impact on the immune system.
Medical professionals, since Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1875, have known alcohol consumption impairs a drinker's immune system. The booze doesn't kill off the bad germs... in actuality it gives illness a playground of weakened T cells to bully. T cells work to find and kill infected cells. An August, 2014 University of Iowa studypinpoints a specific influenza-fighting T cell as being “exquisitely sensitive to alcohol.” Alcohol attacks the T cell immune response on two separate levels: limiting the number of cells that can fight the infection, and limiting the ability of the remaining cells to fight the cold or flu.
Alcohol abuse is also associated with increased risk of death in patients with community-acquired pneumonia despite antibiotics. As with the flu, drinkers with pneumonia see a greater incidence of bacterial buildup, delayed time to recovery, and a higher frequency of persistent lung illnesses following recovery. University of Barcelona researchers made that connection in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) two decades ago.
Drinkers are more susceptible than non-drinkers to other infections, such as septicemia, which is an infection of the circulating blood, urinary tract infections and bacterial peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity. Other studies indicate higher risks for drinkers for HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis, and those conditions as being more severe under the influence. A decade-old report by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) concludes, “It is clear that the increased incidence of infectious diseases in alcohol users represents a significant toll of individual suffering and of medical expense to society. That report also indicates complications of alcoholism, such as liver disease and liver failure, have a component of autoimmunity, in which the immune system turns on the body’s own tissues. Autoimmune diseases include MS and Lupus.
Many drinkers have uttered the words, 'I've never been ill when I was drinking.' Fact is, they just drank under the symptoms.
The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles