Though seemingly a cultural staple, it is well known now that heavy or binge alcohol consumption can induce major health concerns. Typically, the most direct result involves cirrhosis of the liver and automobile accidents due to intoxication, but there are slower highly risky diseases as well.
Here are 12 conditions linked to chronic heavy drinking:
- Anemia – Consuming a large amount of alcohol over an extended period of time can cause the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells to be abnormally low (anemia). This can also trigger other symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.
- Cancer – Drinking a lot can increase your risk of mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, and colorectal cancer. The risk is even higher in heavy drinkers who also use tobacco.
- Cardiovascular disease – This can also lead to platelets becoming more likely to clump together in blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
- Cirrhosis – Alcohol is toxic to liver cells, and many heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis. This is where the liver is so heavily scarred that it is unable to function.
- Dementia – When human beings age, their brains shrink of about 1.9% per decade (and this is considered normal). Heavy drinking, however, speeds the shrinkage of certain key regions in the brain.
- Depression – Drinking and depression go hand-in-hand, but much like the chicken and the egg theory, psychiatrists do not know which came first – drinking or depression. This is often due to the fact that people tend to “self-medicate” to deal with their depression to ease their emotional pain.
- Seizures – Drinking can also lead to epilepsy, and can trigger seizures even in the people who don’t have epilepsy.
- Gout – This painful condition is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in joints. Alcohol can further aggravate existing cases of gout.
- High blood pressure – Binge drinking can cause blood pressure to rise, and over time, this effect can become chronic.
- Infectious disease – Drinking suppresses the immune system, which provides an entry point for diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs. Those who drink heavily are also more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.
- Nerve damage – This can take on a form known as alcoholic neuropathy, and this can produce a painful pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in extremities.
- Pancreatitis – It is well documented that heavy drinking can cause stomach irritation (gastritis), but can also inflame the pancreas as well. This often results in interference in the digestive process, which causes severe abdominal pain and persistent diarrhea.
If you or a loved one are experiencing physical side effects as a result of heavy drinking, it is highly encouraged for you to seek help. Here at Online Alcohol Class, we provide assistance with our programs that are suited entirely for individuals!