What Are the Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking?
Drinking frequently and in large doses can be a sign of alcohol abuse, and chronic drinking can lead to a large number of serious health risks. In general, this should not come as a shock to anyone. Many people are still unaware of the exact risks they take when they choose to overindulge in a few alcoholic beverages, and there are many. The risks you take do not only include liver disease or the possibility of a car crash. Let’s go over ten of the major health risks that are caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.
Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking
Most alcoholics or frequent drinkers never think about the health risks of their behavior. If the drinking continues, the following issues might arise:
Alcohol in large quantities is simply not good for any parts of the body because it breaks down tissues and is abrasive. Excess drinking or binge drinking has been clinically linked to breast, esophagus, colorectal, pharynx, mouth and liver cancers. Much of this also has to do with the fact that alcohol converts to acetaldehyde once it enters the body, and this is a major carcinogen.
Anemia is categorized as an abnormally low number of red blood cells, and this can be caused by heavy drinking. Anemia causes shortness of breath and fatigue.
No one is exactly sure how or why dementia occurs in some individuals, but several clinical tests have shown that heavy drinking can lead to the exacerbation of dementia. In addition, even in patients who do not currently have the illness, chronic binge drinking can shrink the same areas of the brain that dementia does, and it also causes memory loss just as dementia does.
Gout is a form of arthritis, and it is measured by the amount of uric acid in the body. The more uric acid crystals that build up in your joints, the worse your gout is and the more pain you will experience. Alcohol may not always be the root cause of gout conditions, but it has been known to exacerbate it.
- Cardiovascular Disease
A recent study found that heavy chronic drinking leads to double the risk for heart attacks and strokes. This is because binge drinking causes blood platelets to create blood clots in the heart, brain or blood stream by clumping altogether. Heart rhythm disorders are also linked to alcoholism.
- High Blood Pressure
When someone goes on a heavy drinking binge, their blood pressure may be raised momentarily. This could last just a few hours. But when binges become weekly or daily affairs, the high blood pressure could become a chronic issue. This is because blood vessels dilate and constrict in reaction to large amounts of alcohol.
The liver is responsible for filtering all the things that you eat and drink. When someone consumes a large amount of alcohol, their liver has to deal with it, but the liver wasn’t made to do this job over and over. With time, binge drinking causes you to get a fatty liver. This will later turn into cirrhosis, and without a transplant, this is a fatal disease.
Often, heavy drinkers binge drink because they are depressed. Alcohol itself is a depressant, so drinking because of depression begets more depression. It turns into a big cycle of self-medication that simply does not work. The only way to get out of it is to stop drinking by going to an inpatient rehab center.
One of the most harmful things about excess alcohol consumption is that it irritates the lining of the stomach, but it can also irritate the lining of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is the resulting effect, and it can cause serious diarrhea as well as recurring stomach aches.
- Nerve Damage
Alcoholic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that is caused by alcoholism. Someone with this type of neuropathy will experience numbness in the feet, legs, hands and arms as well as painful pin prick feelings in those same areas. In addition, this nerve damage can exacerbate erectile dysfunction, constipation and incontinence.
Chronic heavy drinking can affect the entire body. If you have a problem with chronic heavy drinking, please enroll in a treatment program. Inpatient rehab treatment centers offer more supervision than outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient treatment takes you out of the environment in which you can obtain alcohol and any time. This makes it much easier to focus on your recovery and to form habits which do not include drinking alcohol. Don’t let chronic heavy drinking ruin your health and your life.