Blog | Alcohol Abuse

Long Term Health Effects of Alcoholism

The news often promotes studies that show the benefits of drinking alcohol. But when someone misuses or becomes addicted to alcohol, the list of associated health problems gets very long. These effects are different depending on a person’s gender, and is unfortunately worse for women. Because alcohol use is common and legal for adults, this is an article you just can’t miss. Before you take another drink, you need to understand whether you are putting yourself at risk.

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Gradual Organ Breakdown And Dysfunction

When a person’s body is subjected to the toxic effects from excessive alcohol, the effeciency and interconnection among the body’s organs starts to fall apart. Because the organs all depend on each other to keep the body going, big problems in one area can mean big problems for the whole system. This can eventually cause death.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

Cirrhosis of the liver is scarring from excessive alcohol use This scarring is permanent and cannot be reversed. Scarring means that parts of the liver are non-funtional, causing the remaining portions of the liver to pick up the slack. As a person keeps drinking, they overwork the ever-shrinking remainders.

The liver’s job is to process and filter out toxins from the blood. If a person stops drinking, they can preserve the remaining unscarred portion of their liver. But if they continue to drink, they can eventually die from complete liver failure.

Alcohol-related hepatitis is another serious disease related to alcoholism. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and can cause abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyeballs, and skin), and fever. Like cirrhosis, it can be fatal if a person continues to drink. If they stop drinking, the effects of hepatitis can be partially or even completely reversable.

Alcohol-Related Heart Disease

It’s now well known that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can have some heart benefits, especially if a person already has a risk for heart attack. But if you go over the modest recommended amount, the benefits quickly disappear. Excessive drinking will increase the risk for stroke, various forms of heart disease, and blood pressure problems.

Other Alcohol-Related Health Problems

Heavy drinking causes capillaries near the surface of the skin to break. This gives the face and other exposed skin a ruddy blotchy look. This damage is generally not reversable.

The extra empty calories consumed by an alcoholic can also contribute to obesity.

Obesity can cause a great deal of strain on muscles, bones, and the circulatory system. While obesity is a problem on its own, obesity can also be a leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes can lead to loss of vision, poor circulation, organ damage, and loss of feeling in the extremities.

Brain cells are permanently damaged or killed with excessive drinking. Nerve damage can also develop over time. Bleeding ulcers and other digestive problems can emerge after years of irritation by large amounts of alcohol.

Health Risks From Excessive Drinking

So now you know a few of the worst health problems associated with alcoholism. Many of these can be fatal in one way or another. If you think you may be drinking excessively, call your doctor for help and more information.