It is often we hear about how drinking is bad for us, especially when we drink excessively. But when we think of the harm that comes from drinking, most can only call to mind liver cancer as the primary health consequence. In reality, there are a number of effects that long-term drinking can have on our bodies.
Whenever we think of drinking, smoking or anything else harmful to our body, the common assumption is that it will lead to cancer. But the most that can happen from drinking is liver cancer, right? Wrong. Chronic alcohol use can result in cancer of the mouth, throat, liver, breast and esophagus. Acetaldehyde, which is what alcohol is converted to once in the body, is believed to be what increases this risk.
Both pancreatitis and gastritis are also possible effects of chronic drinking. Gastritis is an irritation of the stomach, specifically in the upper abdomen. Pancreatitis occurs in the upper abdomen as well, and for some may cause pain in their back. The two are similar however; 60% of chronic pancreatitis is in relation to alcohol use, according to WebMD.
Cancer is not the only problem you may face when it comes to your liver. There are a number of liver diseases that can be caused or enhanced because of alcohol use and abuse. Cirrhosis, for example, is very common among heavy drinkers. It is because of their frequent alcohol intake that their liver does not receive time to have a break and recover. This results in scars so intense to the liver that eventually it is incapable of functioning. Women are also more susceptible to develop cirrhosis compared to men. Then there is also alcoholic hepatitis which is the inflammation of the liver as a result of the consumption of too much alcohol.
Heart attacks, high blood pressure and the occurrence of a stroke can become more likely with increased drinking. Binge drinking can lead to more blood clots which can result in either a heart attack or stroke. Basically, alcohol has the ability to cause disorders in relation to the heart and blood that flows through it to the rest of our body. Along with these disruptions, high blood pressure is more likely, especially among chronic users. Such disruptions can later result in more permanent, life threatening problems like a stroke or heart disease.
Continuous alcohol abuse throughout life can have a number of effects on the brain and how it functions. Over time through chronic drinking, neurological disorders are possible such as alcohol induced dementia, or Korsakoff’s syndrome. Like typical dementia, memory loss occurs along with the inability to pay attention, process new information and learn new skills. Problem solving can become problematic for the individual, along with confabulation being a common occurrence as well. Confabulation is when the individual creates events to fill the gaps of their memory that never actually happened.
Struggling with Alcohol?
It is clear that there are many risks that come along with long-term alcohol abuse. If you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol, call the professionals at Serenity Acres today for a free assessment, at 1-800-203-2024.