5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking/ drink responsibly.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

Are you a chronic heavy drinker? Or do you know someone who is?

Drinking too much harms your health and has caused tens of thousands of deaths in the US over several years. Further, excessive drinking is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20 to 64.

This data and countless others have shown time and time again the perilous effects of excessive alcohol consumption, and it’s about time you know what can happen if you or someone you know continues to drink heavily.

If you’re worried about your health or the health of a loved one who drinks excessively, this article will give you an insight into the dangers of heavy alcohol consumption.

What Constitutes Heavy Drinking?

Before we delve into the 5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking, we need to talk about why alcohol is dangerous for your health when consumed in large amounts.

Alcohol is a toxic beverage and once it’s consumed, it enters the body’s bloodstream. For a healthy individual, alcohol is digested within 60 minutes, and the effects will immediately be felt by the individual.

Moderate drinking may not cause any serious health risks but if consumed excessively over the long term, alcohol can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues.

When it comes to heavy drinking, a wide range of alcohol-related diseases occur. So what constitutes heavy drinking and when can you say your drinking has reached dangerous heights?

Excessive drinking can be described as binge drinking and heavy drinking. Binge drinking can mean 4 or more drinking on a single occasion for women and 5 or more drinks for men.

Heavy drinking is when a woman drinks 8 or more drinks on a single occasion, and for men, it’s 15 or more drinks.

A standard drink in the US is 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol, and this looks like a 12 ounce of beer with a 5% alcohol level, or a 5 ounce of wine with a 12% alcohol level.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise that adults can choose not to drink or drink in moderation, which constitutes 2 drinks or less in one day for men and 1 drink or less for women.

 

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

Let us now begin our list of the 5 health risks for chronic heavy drinking, which can happen to both men and women who drink excessively.

1. Increased risk for cancer

Chronic heavy drinking can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Why? Because when you consume alcohol, your body converts it to acetaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.

Carcinogens cause cancer and this means if you are predisposed to certain types of cancer, your risk of developing these diseases is gravely increased.

Alcohol has been studied to increase the likelihood of 6 specific cancers, which are the cancer of the breast, liver, oesophagus, mouth, larynx (voice box), and pharynx (throat). It is also known to increase the risk for colorectal cancers.

And because heavy drinking is associated with smoking, these two lifestyle habits lead to even further risks for cancer.

 

2. Cardiovascular diseases

Heavy drinking increases your risk for stroke and heart disease. It leads to high blood pressure or hypertension, which can cause chronic diseases, such as heart disease. Alcohol also raises the levels of fats in the blood, further increasing blood pressure.

Other cardiovascular complications of drinking alcohol are heart rhythm abnormalities and cardiomyopathy, which is the weakening of the heart muscle.

3. Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the most advanced form of liver disease caused by alcohol. Some of the symptoms include jaundice, skin itching, and portal hypertension, which is the increaSe in blood pressure in the vein.

Alcohol causes inflammation of the liver and causes scarring of the liver tissues. The liver is responsible for filtering the blood of toxins and creating bile to help absorb fats.

When scarring occurs, the liver can no longer function properly. And according to the American Liver Foundation, between 10 to 20% of heavy drinkers will eventually develop cirrhosis.

Scarring of the liver tissues can also increase the risk for liver cancer.

4. Pancreatitis.

Chronic heavy drinking is the top risk factor for chronic pancreatitis. It is a dangerous condition wherein the pancreas is inflamed due to excessive alcohol consumption.

The symptoms of pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, acute abdominal pain, increased heart rate, back pain, low-grade fever, and the malabsorption of nutrients in the body.

It is a painful disease that occurs suddenly and lasts for a matter of days. For every 3 cases of pancreatitis in the US, 1 is caused by recessive alcohol drinking.

5. Alcohol-related dementia and depression.

Aside from the risks to physical health, heavy drinking can also cause mental health issues like dementia and depression.

The short-term effects of alcohol mirror the symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, poor judgment, and difficulty in decision-making. It can also lead to violence and suicidal tendencies.

Over a long time, excessive drinking may even cause Korsakoff’s Syndrome, which is a condition in which people may experience short-term memory loss.

Alcohol-related Dementia or ARBD is a real condition wherein the rain has been damaged due to alcohol.

Tough many people drink because they are depressed, studies have sown that chronic drinking furthers the symptoms of depression, and is associated with suicidal tendencies, irritability, changes in behaviour, and struggles with daily tasks.

 

Short-term health risks of heavy drinking

The short-term effects of heavy drinking must also be noted since these are the immediate effects of excessive drinking, which also increase the risk for many harmful health conditions:

  • Miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women
  • FASDs, which is fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among pregnant women
  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental drowning, falls, and burns
  • The violence that leads to homicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence
  • Alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels
  • Increased risky sexual behaviours that can lead to HIV infections, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies

Conclusion.

Chronic heavy drinking is dangerous to your health and can cause a wide range of conditions. From cancer to high blood pressure, to liver disease and pancreatitis, and even mental problems, heavy drinking can cause devastating effects to your body, and can even be fatal.

If you or someone you know is a heavy drinker and you’re concerned for your or their health, it may be time to stop or get help before it’s too late.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

5 health risks of chronic heavy drinking.

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