This is the best health podcast brought to you by wake forest Baptist health in partnership with MedCost. Alright, good day. Welcome everyone to the latest episode of the best health podcast. This is Justin Gomez with wake forest Baptist health and, um, we have two guests on today's podcast and um, this is part of our continuing series of, of offering, um, podcast that hopefully people listening will find helpful during the COVID-19 Corona virus prices. And so this podcast episode is an extension of, of this series that we're doing. Um, and I have, uh, two really, uh, good smart, informative guests, uh, that are going to help me today. And, uh, I'm going to ask questions and they're going to provide the expert feedback. So that's gonna be good for everyone listening. Um, as I do with each of these podcasts, I do just one at the top of the episode.Please note that this is an automated transcription and we do not guarantee the accuracy of transcribed content.
Um, refer people back if they have general COVID-19 questions or they're looking for general information, FAQ clinic changes, visitor restriction changes, um, any, and all of that information is housed our wakeforestbaptisthealth covennineteen resource page at wakehealth.edu/Coronavirus. So people can also call three, three, six, seven, zero COVID-19 if they would like to speak to someone, uh, over the telephone. Um, so people are free to, to visit those sites. All of these podcasts that we're doing will be housed on that side as well and also available wherever people, um, find their podcasts, uh, on their mobile or smart device. So, uh, I do want to introduce and bring in our two guests, uh, today. Um, the first one is dr. um, Ellen, Joan E J S. uh, she is one of our PhD. Uh, she is, um, she's currently, um, part of the addiction research and clinical health program, um, which is through the department of surgery, trauma at the wake forest school of medicine.
Um, so she has, um, been a practicing counselor for over 30 years. Um, both here in continental United States and Alaska. That's interesting. Maybe we'll ask her about Alaska. She's the past president of the international association of addiction and offender counselors. So welcome doctor. How are you doing? I'm doing great, thank you. Good. Good. And our, our other guests is dr Laura Veech and she is with the wake forest graduate school and biomedical sciences. Um, she is currently the co-director for the way for his university addiction research and clinical health program. So welcome dr Veech. How are you? Great. Good to be here. Thank you. Well, thank you, uh, for joining us. Um, both of you. I know that, um, you know, your schedules are probably a little more hectic or, or out of whack these days, like a lot of ours, so thank you for taking time and, um, you know, we're going to be talking today, uh, about, um, you know, healthy coping, um, alcohol and your immune system, which you might not know.
Um, just, uh, just offering some advice and some practical tips for people, um, to help with that coping in a healthy way, um, and avoiding things like risky drinking. Um, so, uh, these two doctors are going to help us, uh, along the way. And, um, there are resources available, uh, on this topic and you can look up their profiles as well on wake health. That EDU, if you go to the website, I guess to start off dr ESIC, we're all at a, I guess a higher state of stress on some level here. Just our normal lives, quote unquote normal lives have been turned upside down to some degree. Our schedules, you know, a lot of us are virtually working or some of us are out of work and looking for work right now. Um, kids are at home doing virtual learning. Um, so there's this, this potentially heightened level of stress and you know, maybe people have heard over over time that stress can impact a variety of things with your body. Um, physically, uh, emotionally, physiologically, um, including the immune system. So can stress really impact your immune system?
It really can. And, uh, one of the things that I wanted to give you was a definition, and this was just from Wikipedia, but as I was thinking about it, just thinking about what stressors actually are. And you know, we think about all the ways we get stressed, but, but I looked it up. The definition seems really apropos because what it said was a stressor is a chemical or biological agent, environmental condition, external stimulus or an event seen as causing stress to an organism. Psychologically speaking, a stressor can be events or environments that individuals might consider demanding challenging or threatening individual safety. And it seemed to me that that was quite appropriate for what we're looking at today and what I think that we're all used to being under stress. Um, a lot of research has indicated that just normally 75% of Americans feel that they're under either moderate to high stress most of the time.
And I mean, that's just in the day to day life prior to this time now. And so, um, one of the things that we know from massive amounts of research is that stress is one of the things that plays a major role in your immune system and it can impact your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, brain chemistry, blood sugar levels, hormonal balance. Um, it's increasingly increasingly being viewed as a cardiovascular risk marker. Studies have shown that short term stress can actually boost the immune system, but chronic stress, which is what we are all facing now has a really significant effect on the immune system that can ultimately manifest an illness. It raises, um, I'm not even going to say what these are chemicals that can actually suppress our immune system just as we're thinking about how to take care of ourselves. Uh, we felt like this was a really important topic to talk about.
Yeah, I, I agree. Um, I'm glad that, that we're discussing and glad you all are able to offer, um, this really good insight. So, you know, as we go through, um, lives and you know, maybe people have seen, uh, a funny meme on social media or, or kind of maybe their friends have been kind of texting back and forth and you know, in, in, in kind of a joking way. But for some people there, there is a, uh, a connection, uh, that they make with stress and alcohol use. Um, so would you want to talk about the, the connection between the two and how people, um, tend to tie those two together?
I'm sure I'll talk about that and then maybe dr Veech can come in with some of the ways that it really, that, that connection really is. But for a lot of us, when we ask people why they drink or, um, and I'm talking about social drinkers as well as everybody else, but you know, it's considered a real sort of quick fix strategy that a lot of people use to relax, take a load off. People use it to reduce their feelings of loneliness or sadness. A lot of people use it just to socialize with others and to combat the daily stressors that we face. Um, just to distress. I mean, a lot of people will say that when you ask what we forget about, I think is that alcohol is a depressant and maybe at this time more than any other time, the one thing we really need to do is to figure out ways to lift our feelings up, not send them further down. And maybe even more important that is that like it or not, as dr Veech will talk about as alcohol has a really strong negative effect on that main gift that we have to fight off this disease, which is heart amazing immune system.
Yeah, that's, that's really, uh, interesting. Y'all, you know, y'all know a lot more about the intricacies of the immune system than I do, but it's really, uh, if you read about it, it's just really amazing how it can work in our body's natural ability to fight off, um, different, uh, foreign, uh, viruses or bacteria that can come in. Um,
it really is a phenomenal gift that we have and we need to take really good care of it right now.
Yeah. So, um, you know, what things, uh, might be available, um, for those who are concerned about their drinking, um, or maybe, you know, some of the, some of the, uh, I guess helpful tools that have gone on in our community for awhile, like AA meetings, those, those might be affected during this time of social distancing as well. Um, so what are some, you know, what are, what's some advice or insight you can give to, um, you know, if people are concerned or maybe have been going to AA meetings, um, they're not happening right now. What, what can people do?
Right. And this is something I do want Laura to jump in on after me, um, because she may have additional resources that I haven't even gotten, but yeah. Yeah. This is a really big thing because no physical meetings aren't happening over most of the country right now. And those support systems, whether it's AA or in a Alanon for families, Coda for co-dependence on or any of the other sorts of twelves hit meetings that happen that are support systems people. Um, the really wonderful thing, and I'll probably say this several times, but thank God for the internet. Thank you father. Because what we had available before and what has just exploded since this crisis began is the way that support is being offered through a variety of different ways through different social media sites, through the worldwide web in many different ways. Um, people can go on to their browser and Google AA or in a, there's a lot of electronic meetings available.
Um, I think AA alcoholics anonymous.org or aa.org in a.org alanon.org and coda.org [inaudible] dot org are all sort of those main parent sites. But in addition to that, you can go on to Facebook and type in sobriety groups or alcoholics anonymous meetings. There are chat rooms available for people. And I've, you said something about Alaska earlier and we worked in really remote areas, um, and did teleconferencing and telemedicine before it was popular. A lot of other places. One of the things that we had in a very limited sort of way up there, but we would do, you know, at that point, we didn't even have Skype up there, but we were doing phone. Uh, what did you used to call it? Conferencing calls for AA meetings for people out in the villages that you know, couldn't get in because you could only fly in and out.
Um, and so finding ways and the sobriety systems have made lots of different things available. I had checked out, um, Twitter, which I do not know, which I do not know anything about and don't use, but I had been able to find even chat groups on Twitter and places like that. So all of the people that are conversant with social media, they can find things really easily. And for those of us that aren't so conversant, just to be able to go to your browser and type in what you're looking for can bring up a lot of resources. And all of those sites have lots of printed resources and information as well. So during the past when you can't meet physically finding ways to connect, I mean, one of the things with AA and AA or using your sponsors, so you know, calling your sponsors if you need help for people that really are struggling.
Dr. Beach, do you want to jump in and comment as well? Well, certainly. Um, thank you Justin. I think, um, what dr ESIC pointed out in terms of the resources that we have online, especially if I've been struggling and I'm in recovery from, uh, either an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder. Um, we're also concerned about the individuals who may find themselves at home, um, captured by a story. For example, uh, that was in the Bloomberg school of public health at Johns Hopkins by Jay, Kevin Austin. Some that started out with the title whole, the Coran teenies [inaudible] a very catchy lead in, you know, for a story when people are at home and have more time and are wondering, um, how am I going to get through this? And they don't have a, an identified alcohol use disorder. We're not talking about, um, some of what may have been portrayed in the media, um, as the down and out.
These are individuals who may engage at, you know, infrequent times and some what we call risk your drinking. And that's the other person that we want to talk to because they consist of many different people from many different walks of life, adults. And they make up about 30% of the drinkers in the United States and trust. A lot of people that we've worked with now, I've been in this work for about 40 years, have found that, um, they didn't know some of this and even if some of this information were available, um, before they maybe have more difficult times, they would've made other choices. We see that with people that we work with at the bedside in the hospital who may be risky drinkers is a term that has used. Um, so there's lots of information about there. I do want to emphasize, uh, from some of the online versus there's a fact check that needs to go out that, you know, to minimize the Corona virus risk. Uh, we're emphasizing use alcohol for sanitizing and cleaning, not for drinking. Yeah. Apparently some people had some rumors that, um, some bad alcohol mixes could give her the virus, which were kill it. And that's only true if it's on the counter or, uh, a bag perhaps. And that's if it's a very high amount of, uh, Santa Tiser alcohol. Yeah.
Say I seen the cartoons about, put it inside your body. It'll kill the virus. Nope. Nope. And no kidding. You know, there's, um, information all over the place. But the main person that I'm most concerned about is the person who's never sought help. Um, and who wouldn't recognize that they could maybe be impacting their health or their immune system. So I guess the question is, should we hold on drink? Um, we now have, you know, this whole different routine, lots of social media talking about virtual happy hours. The ABC, ABC stores in our communities have had much longer lines and we're parking lots, but maybe we want to just think about how our wine or martinis or beers might be impacting our health. Yeah. Well speaking of that's a, you know, a good, big kind of segue, you know, I want to talk about how does it, you know, not drinking, um, can help, uh, our immune system. So what are some other strategies that can keep our immune system as strong as possible, dr essay, kind of tying that back together. Okay. Um, well let me, one of the things that we know is that everybody deals with the stressors that face us in a variety of different ways. So I'm going to talk about some stress reduction strategies that can make daily life healthier and a lot
easier to manage. But given what we've talked about so far, I really want to reemphasize again the detrimental effect that even a small amount of alcohol can have on your health, especially I'm 78 so I'm in that super high risk category. I also have some respiratory problems and I'll talk a little bit later on about older adults and sort of some of the things maybe that we can do that are a little even more careful, but for everybody, you're the one that's gonna decide what you want to do with the information that we're giving out, but the choices that you make right now really do either decrease or increase your own systems vulnerability to what is a really deadly virus. You may decide that you're not going to drink at all during this period, or are you going to cut down or you're just going to try other things and keep drinking.
That choice is completely up to the individual, but it really is important to know that there's a lot of other strategies that can reduce stress and anxiety levels and help you feel a lot more stable and calm. So, um, I'm gonna talk about a variety of things that can boost immune system function. Um, these are things that have been proven to help lower your stress, keep your immune system functioning well and help you feel more connected to yourself and others. And what I would say to people is that, you know, not all of these are going to fit everybody thing. You make things that fit to yourself. So as you listen to these and think about what you enjoy that you choose among the different ideas to make your own personal plan of activities that can raise your spirits, can raise your endorphin levels and can raise your sense of what I'm calling positive possibilities because that's something we really need right now.
And once you've chosen that, create a retain routine that includes them. And then, darn it, this was the one I always have trouble with. You got to act on your routine and your plan. But there's five major areas of wellbeing and health that can help our immune systems and our whole lives. And that is our physical system, which is going to include, you know, things like exercise, diet, medications that we take, vitamins and supplements, things like that. Our emotional life, which is our feelings and really finding ways to acknowledge what we are feeling and how to deintensify the ones that are causing
us problems. The mental area of our human system, which includes brain stimulation, um, the, our social connections with other people, which is a critical part of the way that humans with life and the spiritual connections that we have. That ability takes us out of ourselves, beyond ourselves and gives meaning and worth to what we're doing, sort of that the reason we're here on earth, those five areas, if we create a plan for living day to day during this time and we include those parts, we're going to really be able to make ourselves and other people feel a whole lot better and be a whole lot better, which means we're going to be able to resist infections that are too. Gotcha. Well, you know, that's a, that's a good point. You know, that's where, so those five areas are key and we want to take care of ourselves. But you know, you bring up a good point if, if, if we're being as healthy as we can be, that's gonna enable us to help, um, care for others should the need arise or, you know, we're being, we're all in this together.
I've, I've seen that a lot of, of with the social distancing and you know, the, the corn Heaney now home and, and washing our hands and covered our mouths. And, you know, I think you bring up a good point that it's, it's, yeah, you need to take care of yourself and that's really important. But in, in taking care of yourself and your immune system being stronger, you're helping, you're helping the greater good the community if you will. You know. Yeah. Um, I do want to, uh, bring dr Veech back in dr vitro quick. I know you mentioned, um, risky drinking earlier and people listening, um, you know, some of them might dismiss that term is not applicable to them or you know, they, you know, that's not me. I just drink on this or I just drink this amount or only on the weekends or what have you. I guess the two better just put her right in front of our face. What risky drinking's generally thought of as a, as what can you help us to find that a little better?
Thanks Justin. We can look at this. Similar to how we prepare our master's students to become addiction specialists and our addiction research and clinical health program here on the campus. Um, we try to educate with how much research has been conducted over the past 30 years, particularly in the risky drinking area. Um, it's even sometimes the term sober curious has also been, um, reference point for a lot of youth today who were just curious about what is the lifestyle that might be less, um, involved in or around drinking. So you can, it's easy to search those terms and find out more information. But in essence, um, from 2018, our national Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism research and data shows that about 70% of adult population were drinking at least something in the past year. And of those about 30% are risky drinkers. Another 40% are drinking low risk levels below anything that would be considered a risky a definition.
And then another 30% approximately who do not drink at all. So within the 30% of risky drinkers, again about seven to 10% have a serious alcohol use disorder and heavier drinking. But the other approximately 20% are, um, overdoing it every now and then. And that, um, if we want a specific, specific kind of definition, which I think a lot of people like we can define risky drinking, who, um, are generally thought of as engaging in one occasion of drinking, where if I'm talking with a male person, um, they have had five or more drinks on any one occasion or females, four or more drinks on any one occasion. And this may happen not necessarily several times a month. It could be, um, infrequently. It could be, um, every week. Uh, it varies. So there is not one specific way to define that, but that is a guy for helping people look at when they're overdoing it and what that looks like.
Sure. And maybe another definition that might help us is, um, a drink. So I, I guess that could be some people that could be subjective to some people of, of what is a drink if they have, if they're just, you know, like, Oh, you know, my beer only has five or 6% alcohol, then that's not bad. I can, I can toss back a few or you know, I, I guess they may be the, the hard liquor is, is what raises the flag a little bit more sometimes. But they, there is kind of a definition of, of what is kind of a drink across the board isn't there?
Exactly. Yes. There's um, sometimes uh, mistakenly believes that, Oh yeah, it veers, you know, low percentage. So that's about really, it doesn't really count but actually those, so when one drink, um, would mean like eight 12 ounce beer. Um, and another would be a five ounce glass of mine and another would be a mixed drink made with 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor. Like I could run a bourbon and I often challenge friends, uh, if you want to do something different, especially if we are in a very strong area for vineyards and wineries, when you pour wine at home, how often do you measure five ounces? Right. And pour it that way. And most of us don't. And yet if I'm drinking, if I'm filling it all the way up to the top of the ball, I might even be having, you know, two, two and a half standard drinks in that one.
Laughs. Um, and maybe drinking more at risk than I would know. So the guidelines currently in our country have emphasized that women and all older adults over 65 are best served if they do not drink more than three drinks in any one day or nor a total, not more than seven drinks in a week. And for adult men up to age 65, never more than four drinks in any one day and not more than 14 total drinks in a week. Uh, some more recently have challenged even those because of additional research, women really should have no more than one drink a day and then no more than two, um, in any one day. Um, and then there's more neural noise. Studies in Lancet in 2018 said that there were no safe levels, um, because they saw health impacts no matter what the level of consumption was. So interesting and a lot about that. And it's great to be curious and to discover much of this information cause you don't usually see that, you know, in an ad, uh, or online advertising what it looks like, you know, just a whole lot of fun. And, uh, and not much more information though.
Well, so to follow up on what both of you all been talking about, um, you know, why? So we're in a very unique situation. Unprecedented is the, as the term unprecedented, is that what we've been hearing a lot on the news or on social media? Um, just really unique times with COVID-19 and we're just trying to make the best of it. We're just trying to get through this, this time. And hopefully most of us are thinking it's, it's a finite time of being away from work and kids being away from school and having the social distance. You know, maybe some people are like, I'm, you know, it's, it helps me get through the day. It helps me get through the week. I'm just gonna, I'm going to drink, I'm going to drink this. I'm not, I'm not really going to worry about how much I'm drinking during this time. When the crisis is over, then I'll, I'll quote unquote get back to my normal life and decrease the amount of drinking that I'm doing. But why should we care about, you know, during the COVID-19 crisis, how much alcohol we're consuming. And dr [inaudible] mentioned the immune system earlier, but I guess in a broader sense, what if we're, you know, a risky drinker and maybe we don't admit it or want to identify ourselves, but why should we, why should we care?
And I think that's a question that more and more people, um, would have. I certainly have that. I'm wondering about the impact of alcohol on the immune system because we know the immune system is second only to the central nervous system in terms of its importance in our body. So to, you know, wonder and just be curious since that's the area that I, you know, do a lot of work in research. And I wondered myself and I was, um, even after 40 years of work in this field, uh, very concerned about what I kept learning about the impact on the immune system for risky drinking. So, um, it's more easy to see people who've done heavy drinking, um, maybe have some complications, but who knew that just some overdoing it every now and then may have some really substantial impact on our health. So again, and you combine that with the stress that dr [inaudible] talked about, so your immune system is already in distress and uh, fighting to be strong. And then you add another, um, some foreign agent if you will, if you want to call alcohol that, um, to your immune system too. And actually it grows into more of a health risk than maybe most people would be aware of.
So we have this, this, uh, I guess there's kind of a couple of factors. If we're home, we have, we have a higher level of stress cause everything else going on, but then we also have access, you know, potentially increased access. So instead of walking by the, the kitchen a few times a day or the, or the liquor cabinet any couple of times a day, we walked past it 50 times a day. Um, you know, so how do we kind of combat that? It's just there in a matter of convenience and it's, it's maybe just easier access than, than we're used to in our normal lives.
Well, exactly. And it, and it works as a sedative to, uh, with quick effect in about 20 minutes as compared to, um, just trying to sit still for, you know, 20 minutes and meditate. It does have an effect. You will say something dr
Elser. Yeah, I was, I was just gonna say that, um, what's going on in that situation that you described, Justin, is we are at loose ends. We sort of don't know what to do and we need to relax or we need something to occupy us and that becomes sort of an easy, easy fix. And so if I can, I'd like to give you some suggestions of things to put in place of that sort of wandering aimlessly 50 times by the cabinet. Um, and so I talked earlier about those five areas of physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual areas. And what I was looking at this, I'll sort of break things down into, uh, those areas and some of the strategies and gosh, there's, there's so much available when we actually start to think about it, but we all know, all of us really do know.
Even if people like me resist it, that exercise is the number one thing to keep your health, boost your immunity, make you feel better, um, and movement of any kind is helpful. And so if you can get outside, and thank goodness it's spring around here, which makes it a little bit easier. But if you can get outside going outside and exercising, walking, jogging, you know, working in the yard, whatever, and inside, if that's the only option that you've got to keep thinking about people that are really stuck in apartments or in places where they don't have a lot of outside stuff. Even things like dancing around the room, hooking up with the dance class on TV. There's a lot of virtual things like that going on. And I'm finding ways to exercise, playing ball with the kid, playing ball with our dogs who've been barking.
I hope you didn't hear them, but things that get you moving and get your blood circulating, paying really close attention to diet and just like alcohol eating fried food and junk right now is a really, really bad idea. Oh man. You know, greens and vegetables and more grains, healthy things, not just junk and carbohydrates all the time. It was interesting when I started looking at this, one of the things that came up as a number one strategy, a lot of places was hygiene. And I went back and took a look and you know, the CDC has been saying for a very long time, not related to disease necessarily, but in terms of just staying healthy, washing your hands frequently washing surfaces off. Um, which I actually wasn't aware off, but sort of that basic hygiene of keeping yourself cleaned up, not only make you feel better, but it keeps regular germs away from you as well as what we're dealing with right now.
Um, brain strategies, things. Gosh, you've, you've now, you've actually got time to check out this hobby you've always wanted to think about, but you never had time or learn a new language or take a different kind of class. All those sorts of things are available on the internet. Um, Facebook, social media places, um, using social supports or that's hooking up socially with the virtual meetings, doing games. We do a zoom book club right now since our blue book clubs meet physically. Um, and our work staff is doing tee time a couple of times a week just to hang out, drink tea and chat. Um, and one of the things that I thought that we don't think a lot about anymore is now we have time to actually do snail mail. Again, sending cards, actually writing a letter, little gifts that you can send and doing things like fun conversations with people that may not have internet, you know, just ways to connect that aren't physical.
And I think Renee Brown talks a lot about pop. If I could add dr [inaudible] Oh yeah. Connection is so vital, um, to help us, um, reduce our difficulties and our, um, challenges a vulnerability in this time. Um, and I, I would want to say more about the, you know, brain stimulation, which is huge. And if people get more curious about their immune system, then yes, I hope they will do more reading and, you know, looking at either webinars or just looking up some more information about that. Because right now without some of any kind of medications such as a vaccine or antiviral that has shown, um, sufficient efficacy, we are counting on our immune system to do the bulk of the work to help us if we're faced with this virus, uh, um, hurting us and coming into our bodies. So I would echo that in, in terms of, um, as much curiosity as you can and maybe a time to slow down and take in, you know, and absorbed more.
Uh, some people say, you know, I really want to do an inventory on who I am. I've got more ability to do that now, even if it's, you know, spread over several weeks. Um, not necessarily a whole day. I wanted to just add, so the immune system in terms of bringing curiosity, um, and try not to go too far down the road in this, but, um, in 2015 there was a complete journal, uh, committed to looking at the immune system and alcohol use. Now certainly other substances can jeopardize the immune system as well. We know taping right now and marijuana smoking any kind of inhalation types of drug use, um, puts the lungs further at risk too. So I don't want to leave that out. But even 200 years ago, the first surgeon general, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote about what he saw as problems with alcohol consumption and significant complications with pneumonia.
So today, more of that research has been done. That was what was surprising to many of us as doctors who knew that the lungs were so vulnerable. Again, overdoing it as well as heavy alcohol use. So not just, you know, a person who's impacted by alcohol use. So you know exactly what, I won't be totally too scientific, but I will say that, um, some recent studies in 2014 by Bala and others sewed a pronounced effect even with acute episodes of alcohol intoxication causing toxic abnormalities sometimes that seen in the gut epithelium tissue in our GI tract as well as in our lung health. Um, the lung is also adversely affected, uh, looking at people with severe drinking, heavier drinking are more likely to develop pneumonia, TB, respiratory virus, RSV infection and acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. So further, um, to go along with that increased susceptibility to these and other pulmonary infections caused by an impaired immune response in people with an alcohol use disorder, particularly in 2010, the CDC and [inaudible] both said that people consider to be risky drinkers are 10 times more likely to develop pneumococcal pneumonia and four times more likely to die from pneumonia than non drinkers.
Particularly with our vulnerability with the Cova at 19. We just wanted listeners to know that that may be information that you haven't heard before, you know, into and now maybe a good time to get curious, um, about that they think the lungs are particularly more vulnerable because, um, when there's a bacterial or viral pathogen, the foot soldiers in our immune system trying to fight off that invader, have a much harder time and are less able to do their job when risky drinking is a pattern. We've seen that certain immune system, key soldiers like I'm going to use a term macrophages, which is a type of a first line of defense that ingests and clears inhaled germs to shorten. And I apologize to my pharmacology and physiology colleagues, but giant, I'm naked in a way that hopefully can be, is type of white blood cell part of our immune system.
Okay. Yet they microphages act like scavengers. They're constantly roaming around searching for this point. Dead cells and foreign particles that don't belong in the body and they are compromised. Um, with risky alcohol use. We've seen, uh, neutrophils are another key fighter in our infection, um, especially in the lungs. And they ingest the bacteria, um, and also release enzymes that help kill and digest the invading viruses. They're very important in the inflammatory response, but they're less able to do the jobs there at the time to do a one study. Gluckman and McGregor found that individuals with just a 0.1 blood alcohol level, which is about consuming five beers, showed weakened a neutrophil, the one that does the fighting and releasing of an enzyme recruitment, highlighting that alcohol intoxication, impairs that kind of neutrophil recruitment into the infected lung tissues and hinders the clearance from the lung of the nasty stuff.
So that's pretty important when we're looking at a coven virus that is wreaking havoc when it's severe in the lungs of individuals impacted by this. So, um, we wanted to emphasize, you know, if you're exceeding daily and weekly limits of alcohol, as we discussed earlier, um, no more than three in, in one day. Certainly no more than four for men and really a best if one or no more than two, um, could be consumed if you can, uh, keep from exceeding that, that would help the alone host defenses. Uh, because otherwise the lung stay sicker longer when they're not able to function as well. Even the little tiny airway hairlike sweepers, the Celia become desensitized to no longer beat fast when exposed to inhale germs when there is heavy alcohol use. And that term for that problem is alcohol. Celia dysfunction. Um, the last thing I wanted to highlight, I know this is more technical than we might've wanted, but I think it's so important.
Okay. The acute respiratory distress syndrome is referenced as a major publication with individuals suffering from severe poverty. It's the shortened to ARDS research of Soma individuals drinking heavily with an alcohol use problem and or severe risky drinkers develop ARDS two to four times more often due to the immune system damage. Um, van Agnon drinker. And that's what's really important, that there is a difference. And I know right now because we're so challenged by what types of medications can help in a situation like Bard's, we really want to do everything we can to boost the immune system and protective factors. Well, you know, this is a really good insight and angle that I'm glad we're talking about today. So, you know, we're wrapping up here, um, our time on this podcast episode. Um, yeah, I'm sure those, y'all mentioned there's, there's so much more information on, on the internet if people, um, when, uh, want to check it out, just remember to check your sources and make sure it's coming from a reliable source. But you know, you ask him one more thing. Yeah, absolutely.
Quick. Just because they're that fifth area, the spiritual connection is so vital to everything and I just wanted to sort of roll it in really quick. But like faith activities, there are virtual church services doing meditation or journaling, daily gratitudes, a service for others ways that we can help others virtually and physically even at this. But the overarching thing as well that goes into all those areas. Um, Mayo clinic came out with a thing a while back that said, I'm choosing to focus on the positive was the, was one of the overarching ways to be healthy. Laughter, fun, lightness of being. They said that positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and serious illness and relief pain as well as laughter relieving pain. And, um, uh, causing the body to be healthier and more physically able to respond and fight off difficult situations.
And the last thing I just wanted to say just in terms of suggestions, our neighborhood is, is really cool and they have done things like send out a message saying on a paint Patrick's day fit the Shamrock in your window. And the kids all walked around with their parents far apart and County CHAM rocks are kind Teddy bears in the yard one day or did virtual birthday party. Somebody came around on a flat bed doing a concert the other day. Oh my goodness. Um, and people have stuck out boxes with books and crafts and puzzles for other people to pick up. So think about ways that you can be, or taking a walk six feet apart. Think about ways that you can be with others without being with others close. And there's lots of creative things that are happening. People get pushed out here.
Yeah, that's a good, you know, we talked
about this in one of our previous podcasts. That's, I think you hit the nail on the head. That social distancing doesn't mean social isolation. And, um, I guess based on what you're saying, you know, there's laughter, uh, to some degree is the best medicine.
It truly is. It candy. We heartily endorse laughter. Um, our team of counselors and addiction specialists, uh, meet virtually and share 'em with the help of, uh, many of us contributing corny jokes, uh, which may sound, uh, light and trite, but it really is a very therapeutic, um, mechanism for us to cope in a healthy way with the situation that we are experiencing.
Yeah. Well that is, um, you know, I know it's definitely been helping around around my health, uh, personally. So I know it can be challenging, um, to find, uh, some, some laughter or joy or some, some lightheartedness in these times for some people. But, um, we definitely do recommend it and encourage it for sure. So, um, you know, as we're wrapping up, dr ESIC and dr Veech, um, this has been just fantastic. Uh, lots of, lots of really good information. And, um, I appreciate y'all taking the time to chat with us today, uh, with the, with this best health episode. Um, and, uh, I hope you all come back and join us at some point in the future as well.
I'd love to thank you very much and thank you for caring about our best health. We love that.
Yeah, absolutely. So, um, uh, thank thanks everyone for listening. Um, you know, should you, um, need to reach out, uh, to someone about, uh, any sort of alcohol, um, uh, uh, abuse or, or questions that you have, um, about a friend or yourself or a family member, you know, there's resources available on our website. Um, I would also recommend a, our faith health a and C, um, website as well. There's lots of resources, um, on the website, but also people you can reach out to as well. So, um, and uh, thanks, uh, the, the suggestions that were made today, uh, try and practice those, uh, that actually will help, you know, keep your immune system as healthy as possible. So, um, this has been great. Uh, the two doctors joining us as is. Thank you so much. And um, everyone, uh, and told that, uh, we gather again for our next episode. I hope that you are going to be well,
thanks for listening to this episode of the best health podcast brought to you by wake forest Baptist health. For more wellness info, check out wake health.edu/best hell and follow us on social media, wake forest Baptist health care for life.