Hangover which is medically referred to as veisalgia is a term used to refer to a number of disagreeable and painful psychological and physiological effects of alcoholic consumption. Given that our body systems are not the same, it is not everybody that experiences hangover after consumption of alcohol. Some people do not suffer from hangover at all even when they consume too much quantity of alcohol. But some people suffer from symptoms of hangover after taking small quantity of alcoholic beverage.
Signs and symptoms of hangover
If you have alcoholic hangover, you will experience some painful and inconveniencing signs and symptoms as a reaction of your body to the alcohol. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of hangover:
· problems with concentration
· dry mouth
· gastrointestinal complaints
· feelings of discomfort
· loss of appetite
· changes in sleep pattern
These symptoms and signs of hangover occur when the concentration of alcohol in the body falls significantly. The symptoms become worse when the blood alcohol concentration falls to almost zero level. The most common symptoms of hangover are impaired cognitive function and drowsiness.
Causes of Hangover
Full knowledge has not been gained on the processes that give rise to hangovers. Alcoholic hangover has been blamed on a number of factors. One of the factors that may lead to hangover is pathophysiological change which can be of various types. A typical example of such changes is hormonal alterations of the cytokine pathways. Other pathophysiological changes that can give rise to hangover are decrease of the availability of glucose and increase in the level of acetaldehyde.
There are other factors that can give rise to hangover following consumption of alcoholic beverages. Some of these factors are insufficient eating, sleep deprivation, disturbed prostaglandin synthesis, dehydration, increased cardiac output, metabolic acidosis and vasodilation. Congeners which are complex organic molecules contained in alcoholic beverages are contributing factors to hangovers. This is because some of them like methanol when metabolized give rise to some toxic substances such as formic acid and formaldehyde.
Factors that can influence and worsen the severity of hangover
There are some factors that are worsen hangover even though in themselves they do not cause it. Some of these factors include the following.
- Gender: women are naturally more susceptible to hangover than men. If a man and a woman take the same number of drinks, the woman naturally is expected to attain a higher blood alcohol concentration before the man. In other words, it is the difference in pharmacokinetics of alcohol in men and women that is responsible for this.
- Age: as one ages, his experience of hangover becomes worse as result of the decline in the level of alcohol dehydrogenase in the body. This enzyme helps in the metabolism of alcohol.
· genetic factor
· cigarette smoking
· use of other drugs
· sleeping quality
· physical activities like dancing