Coronavirus and self-isolation increase number of fatal alcohol poisoning in Tatarstan

Coronavirus and self-isolation increase number of fatal alcohol poisoning in Tatarstan
Photo: Eriko Ovčarenko / 15min.lt

Alcohol doesn't save you from Covid-19

For the first nine months of 2020, the incidence of alcoholic psychosis (the ministry of healthcare considers this indicator an indicator of alcohol abuse) decreased by 9,9% compared to the same period last year, the incidence of alcoholism — by 31%. For 10 months of 2020, 187 cases of fatal alcohol poisoning were recorded. This is by one poisoning more than last year. And in general, this is a lot for our time.

But the chief narcologist of the ministry of healthcare of Tatarstan, Rezeda Khayeva, sees good in everything. Self-isolation, introduced due to the spread of coronavirus, in her opinion, did not have a detrimental effect on Tatarstan residents in terms of alcoholism. She also called the claim that alcohol helps to “disinfect” from coronavirus a myth.

“Any alcohol in any case affects the immune system, and alcohol abuse causes a decrease in immunity. And the body becomes more susceptible to infectious diseases. Therefore, alcohol abuse will lead to that, first, a viral infection will join, a microbial infection on a weakened body, and of course, these diseases will be more severe. Therefore, there is no “disinfection”, no concept that it is some kind of disinfection — there is no such thing. In fact, only reduced immunity, and the body becomes more susceptible to any infectious diseases," said the expert.

Self-isolation, introduced due to the spread of coronavirus, in her opinion, did not have a detrimental effect on Tatarstan residents in terms of alcoholism. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

She also refuted the myth that alcohol can warm in winter:

“Hot tea heats up more than alcohol. Therefore, hot tea with lemon, and now you can also with other vitamins, ascorbic acid, which is also a preventive tool, it will be more beneficial for the body," Khayeva stressed.

Vomiting, convulsions and coma — the consequences of alcohol abuse

The New Year is a record holder for the number of health problems caused by alcohol consumption. The situation is also aggravated by the duration of the New Year holidays, said the chief narcologist of the ministry of healthcare of Tatarstan, Rezeda Khayeva. According to her, chronic diseases can worsen, including those that a person did not even know about.

“Everyone knows that alcohol is extremely toxic to the body, and if a person drinks one or two glasses, there is euphoria and mild intoxication. Then the second stage follows, much less pleasant, which is accompanied by loss of self-control, impaired coordination, inappropriate behaviour, and at this stage, you can stop drinking alcohol. But often people continue to abuse, and there is the dangerous third stage for health, toxic, which is characterised by the inability to move independently, loss of consciousness, vomiting, convulsions. And if alcohol in small doses acts euphorisingly, then with an increase in the dose comes excitement, hyperactivity, and in large doses can be followed by a sedative effect and coma. A person can fall asleep on the street, be in unfavourable conditions and get a state of frostbite," the doctor said.

The saddest outcomes of alcohol abuse are heart attack, stroke, acute pancreatitis, and sometimes sudden death. Most often, this is because people use low-quality alcohol, drink in large quantities and for a long time.

The saddest outcomes of alcohol abuse are heart attack, stroke, acute pancreatitis, and sometimes sudden death. Photo: Maksim Platonov

“As much as you can erase the brain, that's how much the alcohol molecule can do it”

During the New Year holidays, the number of cases of alcohol poisoning increases three to four times, said Aliya Nasibullina, the chief toxicologist of the ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan, head of the toxicology department of the Kazan city clinical hospital No. 7. According to her, there is no such body on which alcohol would not affect. First of all, it is the central nervous system: “We even among ourselves, experts, say: 'Well, that's how much you can erase the brain, that's how much the alcohol molecule can do it.”

Another target organ for alcohol is the liver. Prolonged use of alcoholic beverages causes hepatopathy, and also gastric disorders. “The final stage is cirrhosis of the liver," Nasibullina said.

“When abusing alcohol, it is also dangerous that a person, let's say in quotation marks, does not know the dose at which it would be worth stopping. After all, the reason for drinking alcohol is to relax, probably most people want to enjoy spending time with friends and family in a circle at the table. Perhaps, some minimum dose is needed, but for some reason, many people do without alcohol, just as they have a wonderful time with their loved ones," the expert said.

Another mistake — minors, drinking beer and champagne, do not think that this will lead to any poisoning. And in general, drinking alcohol, even in minimal doses, is also a health risk. This is due to the individual characteristics of a person.

“We should not forget that sparkling wines and beer contain quite a large amount of carbohydrates, and for those who have disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, such as diabetes mellitus, any endocrine disorders, this can also be quite dangerous — with a drop or increase in sugars. And it can lead to a hospital bed, to a coma, not only toxic one," the doctor noted.

During the New Year holidays, the number of cases of alcohol poisoning increases three to four times, Aliya Nasibullina said. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

She also called it a myth that you can drink one glass of dry red wine every day to slow down aging, as there are antioxidant substances. According to Nasibullina, they can be obtained with the help of food, but alcohol has effects on blood vessels. This can cause ischemia to the heart and circulatory disorders of the brain, hence “sudden” strokes and heart attacks.

For doctors, there is no such thing as a “gentle type of alcohol”, Nasibullina noted, and regardless of the concentration of ethyl alcohol:

“We also produce our own endogenous internal alcohol, so our enzyme system is configured so that we are able to digest any alcohol in principle, but not in the concentrations that are most often consumed during the holidays. This is a huge amount of alcohol for one person.”

She advised not to buy alcohol in kiosks, through friends, in places of unauthorised trade.

By Daria Pinegina
Tatarstan