Alcohol is known to make people feel happy, pleasant, and sociable. While an occasional glass of drink with dinner isn’t dangerous, consuming too much alcohol can be problematic. You may not suffer any serious health consequences from drinking a glass a day. If you fail to stop after one glass or if the habit grows, the cumulative effects could be lethal. Regardless of whether a person consumes alcohol regularly, short-term effects can still be experienced on the mind and body.
An alcohol use disorder is the result of excessive or chronic, long-term drinking. Other life-threatening diseases are also linked to chronic alcohol consumption. If you or a dear one is dependent on alcohol to function, it’s recommended to consider professional help/rehab to manage your withdrawal. Addiction hotline provides a safe environment for recovery.
Chronic alcohol consumption has several negative health effects
Immune System Damage
Your body’s immune response is impaired when you consume a lot of alcohol. Consequently, your body finds it more difficult to resist bacteria and viruses. Individuals who drink excessively over a long period of time are also more likely to acquire pneumonia or tuberculosis.
Around 10% of global tuberculosis cases can be linked to alcohol consumption. RBC, WBC, and platelets are affected by alcohol. A person’s risk of cancer increases when they drink alcohol, especially when it comes to mouth, breast, and colon cancers.
The liver breaks down and eliminates harmful substances from the body, including alcohol. This process is interfered with by long-term alcohol consumption leading to higher risks for chronic liver inflammation and liver disease. Cirrhosis is the scarring caused by this inflammation. Scar tissue destroys the liver. With an increasingly damaged liver, toxic substances are more difficult to remove from the body. Liver disease can be fatal, as it causes toxins to build up in the body.
The dehydration and constipation that result from heavy drinking can lead to ulcers or hemorrhoids. Both of these conditions can cause internal bleeding. Ulcers are potentially fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time. Women are at higher risk than men. As a woman’s body absorbs more alcohol, she requires more time to process it.
Digestive System Damage
Perhaps it is not immediately apparent how drinking alcohol affects your digestive system. Often the side effects emerge after the damage has been done. The more one drinks, the greater the damage is. Chronic drinking damages the tissues in the digestive tract preventing the intestines from digesting food and absorbing vitamins and nutrients. This may lead to malnutrition. Some other issues can be gassiness, diarrhea or painful stools, bloating, etc. Ulcers or hemorrhoids (and even internal bleeding) are common problems among heavy drinkers. Undiagnosed or untreated ulcers can be lethal.
There is a greater risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, and liver in people who drink frequently. People who regularly drink alcohol and consume tobacco have an even greater cancer risk.
Sexual And Reproductive Health Damage
There is a popular perception that alcohol lowers inhibitions and helps you have a better experience in bed. The reality, however, is quite different. Erectile dysfunction is more likely to occur in men who drink too much alcohol. The consumption of large amounts of alcohol can also prevent the body from producing sex hormones and reduce libido. Excessive drinking can stop a woman’s menstruation putting her at a risk for infertility. Preterm birth, stillbirth, or miscarriage are more likely to occur in women who consume alcohol heavily during pregnancy.
Alcohol consumption by pregnant women poses a risk to the unborn child. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD) pose a serious threat. Among the other conditions are learning difficulties, physical development abnormalities, long-term health issues and increased emotional problems.
Central nervous system Damage
The primary sign of excessive drinking is slurred speech. Drinking can lower brain-to-body communication. This results in difficulties coordinating your movements. Balancing becomes more difficult.
Alcohol can result in numbness and tingling sensations in the fingertips and feet, as it damages your central nervous system.
It is also complicated for your brain to form long-lasting memories after drinking. Furthermore, you will also have a hard time deciding rationally after drinking. The frontal lobes may be damaged over time. Among the many functions of this area of the brain are emotional control, short-term memory, and judgment.
Chronic and excessive alcohol abuse may also result in permanent brain damage. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that affects memory, can be a result of this.
Circulatory System Damage
Heart and lungs can be severely affected by alcohol. Excessive (chronic) drinking increases the risk of heart problems. The risk of developing heart disease is greater for women who drink than for men. The circulatory system can be complicated by high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, difficulty pumping blood through the body, etc.
Nutritional deficiencies lead to anemia when vitamins and minerals cannot be effectively absorbed from food. Low RBC counts are associated with this condition. Fatigue is among the most prominent symptoms of anemia.
The pancreas is involved in the regulation of insulin use and glucose response in the body. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, occurs when the pancreas and liver are not functioning properly. The pancreas may be injured as well, resulting in the body not producing enough insulin to utilize sugar. Over time, this can lead to hyperglycemia — too much blood sugar.
Your body may suffer severe complications and side effects of diabetes if it cannot maintain and balance its blood sugar levels. The consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol should be avoided by people with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Skeletal And Muscle Systems Damage
Long-term alcohol consumption can prevent the body from retaining bones’ strength. This leads to thinner bones and an increased risk of fractures in the event of an accident. In addition, fractures may take longer to heal. In addition to muscle weakness, drinking alcohol may also lead to cramping and eventually atrophy.
There are numerous adverse effects of alcohol on almost every organ in the human body. The effects of alcohol, and the risks associated with it, can be both short-term and long-term. It’s better to get educated and take precautions before the damage is done than to wait until this is too late.