Most adults drink alcohol, but while it may be okay to drink alcohol occasionally, it may not be wise to consume it excessively. This is because alcohol abuse can lead to serious health consequences. While there are no particular ages when specific alcohol abuse health consequences arise, those who are older and have been drinking longer are susceptible to more severe health risks and complications. As such, you want to learn to control your alcohol intake because of the potential future effects it can have.
What Health Risks Are Associated with Alcohol Abuse?
Generally, the effects this can have on your health depends on how much alcohol you regularly consume. That being said, here are six of the long-term health risks of excessive alcohol abuse:
Apart from tobacco and obesity, one of the most common preventable risk factors for cancer is alcohol abuse. This accounts for close to 6% of all cancers and 4% of all cancer deaths in the United States. While the exact effects of alcohol on cancer have not been completely understood, numbers have shown that excessive drinking raises the risk of contracting cancer. Alcohol abuse is often linked to cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. It is more commonly linked to an increased risk of liver cancer, given that heavy alcohol use damages the liver. Other types of cancer associated with alcohol abuse are colon, rectal, and breast cancers.
2. Gastrointestinal Diseases
Alcohol attacks your entire digestive system, from the lining of your stomach and your esophagus to your liver. As such, some of the health effects of alcohol abuse include ulcers, bleeding, and cancers of the stomach and esophagus. Apart from this, you can also develop a fatty liver, as alcohol abuse can lead to a buildup of fats in that organ. While this rarely causes any symptoms, it is a good indicator that you are drinking alcohol at a dangerous level.
3. Memory Problems
Do you often wake up the morning after drinking, unable to remember much of what happened the night before? This is because drinking too much alcohol affects short term memory by slowing down the communication between nerves in the part of the brain called the hippocampus. It does not stop there, though; apart from temporary memory loss, excessive alcohol abuse can permanently damage the hippocampus and destroy nerve cells, resulting in long term memory loss.
4. Heart Disease
While some claim that moderate drinking can be good for your heart, too much alcohol intake can seriously damage it in the long run. Alcohol abuse can lead to a disease of the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy, wherein it makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to your body. This can easily result in heart failure.
5. High Blood Pressure
One of the health effects of alcohol abuse is an increase in a person’s blood pressure. Excessive drinking can raise it to an unhealthy degree. Learning that you have high blood pressure can come with a whole list of habits to change. Gradually reducing how much and how often you drink can have a huge impact.
6. Weak Immune System
Drinking too much alcohol will significantly weaken your immune system. This is because alcohol hinders the absorption of key nutrients your body needs to fight off bacteria and viruses. You are therefore more likely to catch different types of illnesses like cough, colds, or viral other infections if you are a heavy drinker.
Alcohol abuse leads to numerous negative effects on your health. As such, it is imperative that people try to reduce their alcohol intake or dependence as early as possible. For some, this might call for a little simple mediation and habit-building. For others, additional assistance might be necessary. At Haven House, we offer Christ-based treatment programs to guide men as they overcome and address destructive life behaviors.
If you are looking for a Clarksville recovery center, you may also drop by our facility in Hartsville, TN and find out how we help alcoholics lead a better life!