Actress Elizabeth Peña, known for her roles in films such as “La Bamba,” “Rush Hour,” and most recently, a recurring role on ABC’s “Modern Family”, died on October 14th due, in part, to alcohol abuse.
The coroner’s report revealed that Peña’s cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest, linked to complications associated with alcohol abuse. The actress reportedly suffered from “cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol” months before her death; “cardiogenic shock” and “acute gastrointestinal bleeding” were also listed as causes of death. Peña was just 55.
Alcohol abuse is defined as a habitual misuse of alcohol that affects your daily life and jeopardizes your health. In a report released in March of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that one in 10 deaths among American adults, ranging from age 20 to 64, are due to excessive alcohol intake. This amounts to almost 100,000 deaths a year due to alcohol abuse.
Excessive drinking – whether it be on one occasion or on a more regular basis- can cause the body some serious damage. Vital organs are highly susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol. As it passes through the body, enzymes in the stomach turn the ethanol found in alcohol into acetaldehyde. This compound on its own is toxic and requires further breakdown in the liver where it turns into acetate. Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach, and leaves the immune system vulnerable and exposed to illnesses. The liver can only process a certain amount of liquor at one time. A buildup of acetaldehyde in a person’s bloodstream can lead to rapid pulse, sweating, nausea and vomiting, and over time, chronic illnesses like cirrhosis of the liver.
Men and women process alcohol differently. According to the CDC, heavy drinking for women is estimated to be eight or more drinks per week; for men, the number increases to 14 or more. Because women generally have smaller bodies than men, they also process less of the alcohol in the stomach, which means that more of it flows into their blood stream.
Some other serious risks associated with alcohol abuse include:
If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, it is important to seek professional help. Find an alcohol treatment center to start your path to recovery. Call 203-242-8271 today.