Hangovers are a reminder that all things should be enjoyed in moderation, albeit a poorly timed reminder but a reminder just the same.
A hangover consists of symptoms of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low blood sugar, and the generalized effects of excessive alcohol consumption, but they can become pretty severe. Left untreated, they can actually become a medical emergency.
Let's take a look at the causes of a hangover, remedies for a hangover, symptoms of a hangover, and when you may need to see a doctor.
WHAT IS A HANGOVER CAUSED BY?
The obvious cause of a hangover is drinking too much alcohol. However, some people are more susceptible to hangovers than others. Many factors may affect how severe a hangover may be. Some of these factors include:
- Age - Younger people tend to have more severe hangovers.
- Sex - Research shows that females tend to have a higher tendency to get hangovers than men.
- Genetics - Some people have a family history of low tolerance for alcohol. Studies show that these people can have severe sensitivity to even one drink resulting in sweating, flushing, and vomiting.
- Personality - Certain personality traits can influence hangover symptoms. For instance, shy people tend to experience more anxiety with hangovers.
- Overall Health - A person's overall health can have an impact on the severity of a hangover.
- Behaviors associated with drinking - Smoking cigarettes or using drugs with alcohol use can make a hangover worse.
Obviously, how much you drink will determine how severe your hangover will be, but did you know that what you drink is also a factor? Congeners also contribute to increased hangover severity. Congeners are a chemical by-product of the fermentation process in certain alcoholic beverages. Some common congeners are:
Congeners are found in the highest concentration in dark-colored liquors such as bourbon, whiskey, and red wine. Clear liquors have much lower quantities of congeners, with vodka having almost no congeners at all. While it's not a hangover cure, sticking with clear colored alcohol can certainly lessen the severity of a hangover.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A HANGOVER?
Symptoms of a hangover can vary from person to person, depending on the factors listed above and how much alcohol you drank the night before. However, most of the symptoms of a hangover result from dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and blood sugar imbalance, which can be further impacted by vomiting.
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sleep disturbance
- Fatigue and weakness
- Headaches and body aches
- Excessive thirst and dry mouth
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
- Mood disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability
You may find that you have just a few of these symptoms or all of them but taking a hangover seriously is important. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can pose a serious health threat. Let's talk about how to treat a hangover.
HOW TO TREAT A HANGOVER
As mentioned earlier, the effects of alcohol that lead to the worst hangover symptoms are dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and blood sugar imbalance, causing serious health implications if left untreated. Therefore the first things you should do are:
Eat Real Food
Although you may not feel like eating, it is important to get something on your stomach. Carbohydrates are good for settling your stomach and stabilizing your blood sugar but start slow if you need to. Bananas, crackers, or dry toast are good to start with as they are bland and less likely to increase nausea or vomiting.
If you do start vomiting and are unable to keep food down, skip to rehydrating and replenishing your electrolytes until you can keep food down.
Rehydrate and Replenish Electrolytes
This is very important! Drinking water will help with dehydration, but you will need an oral hydrating solution to replenish your electrolytes. Sports drinks contain electrolytes, but they also contain many sugar and artificial ingredients that increase stomach upset.
Use a quality oral hydrating solution like HYDRATE to replenish electrolytes. It has only one gram of sugar that comes from dehydrated lemon juice. All of the ingredients are organic and unprocessed, so you provide your body with the highest quality electrolytes. There is nothing artificial in HYDRATE, only the very best ingredients.
It comes in an easy-to-use powder form that you simply add to your water bottle. Order some and keep it on hand to always have it ready for the next day after drinking alcohol.
Get Extra Sleep
Don't sleep through eating, rehydrating, and replenishing your electrolytes, but once you have started that process, try to go back to bed and get a few more hours of sleep. You should always plan for extra rest the next day after drinking heavily.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR A HANGOVER
Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that needs medical attention. If you experience these symptoms, it's important to see a healthcare provider immediately:
- Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
- Difficulty remaining conscious
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Passing out (unconsciousness) and can't be awakened
- Decreased breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
The good news is that most hangovers go away on their own over a 24 hour period. However, aggressively treating the low blood sugar, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance associated with hangovers can help you feel significantly better right away.
Obviously, the best way to avoid a hangover is to avoid drinking alcohol altogether, but that isn't always an option. However, what is an option is having supplies on hand to help alleviate the symptoms of too much alcohol consumption.
Keeping HYDRATE on hand is a great way to start replenishing electrolytes before you even go to bed after a night of drinking. Treat yourself to a nightcap of HYDRATE powder mixed with water, and chances are you will greatly decrease if not totally eliminate the symptoms of a hangover the next day.