It’s not exactly news that drinking can lead to horrible injuries from car crashes or falls, but bear in mind they are far from a complete example of what to expect. Did you know that well documented medical research has linked chronic alcohol consumption to over 60 diseases and that it is considered to be the leading most preventable cause of death?
Many people feel that they are safe as long as they only drink to excess “once in a while.” Simply put, if you think it’s safe to binge drink only one night a week you need to think again because even that one time can work to destroy your health, and depending on your metabolism, it doesn’t always take years to do so. Many people with drinking issues or questions have found help at organizations, for example, American Addiction Centers, and more or less, alcohol addiction can be cured if the folks take proper care.
Describing detail on each one of those 60 plus diseases mentioned would take an entire book. In lieu of that, here are 10 examples of what excessive drinking can lead to. Some of them are obvious and well known while others may surprise you.
Excessive drinking is linked to an abnormally low count of red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. Those ill with this disease can expect to feel tired, lightheaded, and may feel they can’t catch their breath.
Immune System Difficulties
Alcohol makes your body a target for infectious diseases by weakening the entire immune system. This puts you at risk for HIV infection, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and that’s just the top three, there is much more than can be mentioned here.
The human brain normally shrinks about 1.9% in ten years. Excessive alcohol use speeds this natural process up. This leads to memory loss, the inability to make sound decisions and solve problems. In short, your ability to function on a day to day basis is minimized, not maximized.
The body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde (a very strong carcinogen) which science believes leads to cancer. When considering the effects of alcohol on the body the first thing most people think of is liver problems. Other areas of the body most often affected with alcohol-related cancers are the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, and breasts. If you smoke and drink, the risk is even higher.
Alcohol alters your brains receptors and neurotransmitters which can disrupt your entire system. Your brain isn’t fully developed until age 24, and young adults may risk permanent damage from overindulgence of alcohol.
Excessive drinking leads to more than stomach ulcers and heartburn in this area. It puts you at risk for gastritis as well as damaging your digestion system so much that you could also experience dangerous internal bleeding from enlarged veins in your esophagus. And there’s still more such as interference with gastric acid secretions which delays gastric purging as well as impairing muscle movements within the bowel.
Excessive alcohol use has been shown to trigger seizures, whether the person is epileptic or not. Anyone taking medication for seizures should beware that alcohol may lower its effectiveness and put them at risk of injury.
High Blood Pressure
Alcohol interferes with the sympathetic nervous system which controls constriction and dilation of blood vessels in mentally or physically stressful situations. This causes blood pressure to rise. Chronic high blood pressure often leads to a laundry list of other ailments such as heart, kidney disease, and stroke.
Chronic alcohol consumption in adolescents and young adults often leads to problems with osteoporosis later in life. By interfering with your body’s natural balance of vitamin D, calcium, and cortisol levels your entire bone structure is weakened, which greatly increases the chance of fractures and breaks.
Alcoholic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage brought on by heavy drinking. This painful condition produces a “pins and needles” sensation or feeling of numbness in hands and feet. Incontinence, constipation, general weakness, and erectile dysfunction are other symptoms of nerve damage. Many believe that because alcohol is toxic to nerve cells drinking to excess is almost a guarantee of acquiring a case of alcoholic neuropathy.
Not everyone can drink and still maintain good physical and mental health. Keep in mind the above examples of what to expect or look for if you are a chronic drinker are only a small sample of what’s out there. So yes, even if you decide to visit your favourite bar with a designated driver, that still won’t solve all your problems with too much alcohol.
Remember this. When it comes to alcohol and its effects on the body no two people are alike. The amount you drink, gender, body mass, genetic factors, and your state of health, in general, all have their influence on how you personally respond to over-indulgence in alcohol.