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What impact does alcohol have on the body? From a 'hangover' to cirrhosis this free course, Alcohol and human health, looks at the harmful effects of alcohol both in the short and long term.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- describe the effects that ethanol in the blood has on the body – specifically the effect on drivers’ judgement at blood-alcohol concentrations near the legal limit for driving and the serious effects of blood-alcohol concentrations in excess of 200 mg/100 ml
- describe the short-term effects experienced following excessive alcohol consumption. Comment on the relationship between these complex effects and ethanol metabolites or congeners, the various ‘remedies’ adopted, and that the physiological basis for these economically important short-term harmful effects remains poorly understood
- discuss some of the long-term harmful effects of drinking excessive alcohol with specific reference to the three stages of alcoholic liver disease and central and peripheral nervous system damage
- discuss fetal alcohol syndrome, describing the main effects on the fetus and some of the factors that can make research into this disorder more complex.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 How alcohol causes short- and long-term harmful effects
- 1.1 The biological effects of ethanol
- 1.2 Hangovers
- 1.3 Long-term problems from chronic alcoholism
- 1.4 Nervous-system damage
- 1.5 Fetal alcohol syndrome
- 1.6 Treatment
- Revision questions
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Alcohol and human health
This course describes some of the effects of drinking alcohol. It looks at alcohol's journey through the body and its effect on the liver. It also discusses some possible beneficial effects. This is an important health issue and should be of wide interest.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Biology courses or view the range of currently available OU Biology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 24th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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