Health Risks of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

When someone is drunk, they can experience dizziness, loss of coordination, poor decision making and a multitude of other things. While this may be fine in the short term, there are severe, physical consequences that can be associated with long-term alcohol abuse.

Cancer

Chronic drinking can cause liver cancer, as the liver is only able to process around five units of alcohol (a couple pints of beer) a day. If the liver is overloaded with alcohol on a consistent basis, it is possible that it will respond with cirrhosis. Long-term alcohol abuse can damage the DNA in liver cells, thus resulting in cancerous cells developing. Additionally, excessive alcohol drinking can lead to mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, breast and colorectal cancers.

Health Issues Related to Blood Flow

Anemia can be a result of alcohol abuse, as the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells can drop to dangerously low levels. Platelets are more likely to clump and form blood clots, which can lead to either a heart attack and/or a stroke.

The sympathetic nervous system controls the constriction and dilation of blood vessels. When alcohol is consumed, it can disrupt this system and cause high blood pressure. Over time, this issue can get worse, causing other health problems like kidney disease and heart disease.

Seizures

Alcohol, when consumed excessively for a long period of time, can cause epilepsy and trigger seizures in people who were not diagnosed with epilepsy prior to their alcohol addition. Alcohol abuse can also affect the medication that is taken to control the seizures.

Nerve Damage

Painful, sharp and pinging feelings can develop in the extremities of someone who drinks excessively. This form of nerve damage is known as alcoholic neuropathy. Muscle weakness, incontinence, constipation and other problems can also arise due to this type of nerve damage.

Pancreatitis

Other than stomach irritation, the activity of drinking heavily can also inflame the pancreas. This can interfere with the digestive process, which could cause extreme abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Health Consequences of Binge Drinking

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), binge drinking is the most common type of alcohol abuse. To binge drink means that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) has been raised to 0.08 percent or more. Generally, it would take a man five drinks and a woman four drinks to reach this level.

When someone has consumed too much alcohol at one time, they could be subject to alcohol poisoning. This is when someone, who is drunk, can experience: vomiting, seizures, irregular breathing, low body temperature or unconsciousness, among other symptoms.

If this happens, it might be a good idea to have the person’s stomach “pumped.” This means that a medical professional will have to use the proper medicines and tools to remove the contents of the stomach, in order to prevent the alcohol from further seeping into their system.

Other health issues related to binge drinking can be neurological damage, poor control of diabetes and elevated blood pressure.

If you think that you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol abuse, you can get them the proper treatment before these long-term health issues take effect.

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