why does your face turn red when you drink alcohol

There are a number of people who face the problem of their face turning red while drinking alcohol. People usually debate on the fact whether this change in the color of the face is healthy or unhealthy. If you are worried about the same issue, then here is some information that can be of help to you. The first thing that you need to know is why you turn red when you drink alcohol. Well, this is a result of the alcohol flush reaction. This happens when your body is unable to break the alcohol that you have consumed completely. When you consume alcohol, it metabolizes into a by product called as acetaldehyde. Now to break this acetaldehyde your body makes use of an enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 2. So, when there is a problem in your body regarding this aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 like the enzyme is inactive, then it is unable to break the acetaldehyde and this toxin causes the alcohol flush reaction. It has also been said that when your body accumulates a lot of acetaldehyde this indicates that there would be more toxins in your body and this can lead to cancer. Studies have also revealed that inactive aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 is at time hereditary and most of the times it is seen in people of Asian descent. If you face any such problems then read on to get more information on how to stop getting red while drinking alcohol. There are many studies that show if you take heartburn medicines like ranitidine or famotidine approximately one hour before drinking, then it can help you in reducing the alcohol flush reaction.


The exact mechanism of how these medicines work in helping avoid the alcohol flush reaction is still not solved, but to satisfy the readers scientists say that drugs are antihistaminic and hence they prevent capillary dilation. There are also studies that have revealed that people suffering from the alcohol flush reaction usually get more tolerant with time. Also, having any food mainly consisting of carbohydrates would help you in avoiding the reaction. This is because carbohydrates would absorb ethanol and prevent it from accumulating in the body. Studies have indicated that people who suffer from the alcohol flush reaction are less prone to any other unpleasant side effects related to consumption of alcohol. However, they are more prone to any illness that is related to alcohol like cancer or liver diseases. Many of the scientists believe that alcohol flush reaction is the own mechanism of the persons body that discourages him/her from drinking. No matter what is the reason of you turning red while drinking alcohol, it is advised that you visit your physician to know it better. Only a physician can advise you on how to save yourself from turning red while having alcohol. Dont take any over the counter medications as at times they can cause a reaction.


Always inform your physician when taking any of the medications for alcohol flush reaction.
Writer/Producer CNNhealth. com Immediately after taking a few sips of an alcoholic drink, I have an almost cartoonish reaction. I burn up and turn scarlet my whole face, forearms and neck. My response to alcohol is so strong that a martini is enough to make me vomit, and half a bottle of beer makes me ill. Don t even get me started about wine. The facial flush, also known as the Asian glow, is a fairly common reaction to alcohol amongst East Asians. They turn red, feel nauseated, get swollen and their heartbeats race. I liken the experience to turning into a bright red disco ball. Some people get so embarrassed about this reaction to alcohol, they pop in Pepcid AC, which many people say helps mask the red face. Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and Japan s Kurihama Alcohol Center found that individuals who get the redness after drinking alcohol are at greater risk for developing esophageal cancer. About eight percent of the world s population has this genetic condition (Thanks, Mom and Dad), where the body lacks an enzyme that properly breaks down alcohol. This missing enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 metabolizes alcohol into acetate, which is non-toxic so the remaining 92 percent of the world can drink with normal facial color.


But when I drink, the alcohol turns into acetaldehyde, which is a chemical that causes DNA damage and has cancer-promoting effects. That causes the facial flush, according to scientists from NIAAA. Researchers whose work was published this week in PLoS Medicine say that people who have the facial flush and continue to drink are six to 10 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer, compared with someone without the genetic condition who is drinking the same amount. And esophageal cancer carries a five-year survival rate of 12 to 31 percent. For Lent, I gave up alcohol and I don t miss the headaches, redness, or vomiting. So this might become permanent, because I think my body is trying to tell me something. Do you have strange reactions to alcohol? How do you deal with it? And has this deterred you from drinking? Editor s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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