Alcoholic or not, all of us know what a hangover is! For the exceptional few who are blissfully ignorant of the word, hangover is a set of symptoms and signs that occur after someone overconsumes alcohol. People drink anytime of the day and hence, are susceptible to hangover too any time of the day. But most hangovers predominantly happen in the morning after a person drinks heavily during the night.
Hangover symptoms start sometime after the person is done with all the drinking and blood alcohol levels start dropping. Effects reach their pinnacle when blood alcohol concentration drops to zero and continue until as long as 24 hours. Alcohol or ethanol is what causes people to feel unwell as it stimulates dehydration. Drinking alcohol causes a person to urinate more which in turn leads to dehydration. Dehydration can cause a headache. Not only this, ethanol can also irritate the stomach and lead to inflammation. This can prevent digestive acid from moving through the gut and induce more secretion of gastric acid. This leads to nausea. Most common symptoms include dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, feeling sick, thirst, irritability, fatigue, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and headache. Alcohol causes these symptoms through dehydration (thirst, dizziness, weakness), stomach/liver irritation (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain), low blood sugar levels (fatigue, mood fluctuations) and sleep disturbance.
The type of alcohol you drink plays a main role in increasing your chances of a hangover. Alcohol contains congeners that add taste, smell and color of the drink. The percentage of congeners determines the effect of hangover. Gin and vodka mostly cause fewer hangover effects due to decreased levels of congeners while brandy, whisky and red wine cause profound hangover effects due to more congeners.
There is no cure for hangover and any remedies for cure are only a myth. The best cure for hangover is only time. All you can do is take preventive steps to avoid a hangover and if you do suffer from one, you can do various things to ease your discomfort.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.