Apr 5, 2012

Rudolph The Red Nosed Alcoholic

rudolph-red-nose

Ever wonder why alcoholics have red noses?

And while we’re on the subject, if there’s one thing holding Bossy back from the precipice of wino, it’s the thought her nose could become even more, shall we say, prominent.

bossy-nose-photo

You see, when we drink, the alcohol absorption begins in the stomach, with the most absorption taking place in the small intestine.

stomach-intestine-diagram

But since alcohol is a liquid, its presence is also easily detected in your blood, urine, the fluid around your brain, and the water vapor in your lungs.

the-breathalyzer

Alcohol in the bloodstream acts as a vasodilator, which means the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessel walls relax and widen.

alcohol

And when blood vessels widen, the flow of blood is increased. And when the veins are enlarged with increased blood flow, we can see it.

wc-fields-nose

Typically the vasodilation that occurs during alcohol consumption — which is also responsible for cheek flushing — dissipates as the alcohol leaves the bloodstream.

This takes approximately one miserable day longer than you wish it would.

The trouble is, if you’re a chronic drinker — which is Gaelic for alcoholic — the capillaries of the nose never recover and the red bulbous nose condition persists.

Our parents always warned us if you did that thing too much it would stick!

crossed-eyes

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