Almost everyone has a glass or two of alcohol from time to time. That’s perfectly fine, and can even be beneficial for our health. But constant and unrestrained use can have devastating consequences on our well being. So what are the health risks of drinking alcohol?
Excessive alcohol use can lead to liver disease. The liver is the main organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol. So large quantities can lead to sometimes irreparable damage. The liver can get fatty because the metabolization of alcohol alters the way it works. What’s more, cirrhosis and liver inflammation are real concerns for chronic alcohol users.
As a major organ, the liver provides life-sustaining functions. When it can’t function properly, the body faces multi-organ failure and eventual death.
Heart and Brain
Alcohol use leads to a more rapid heartbeat. Thus, prolonged use can lead to high blood pressure and arrhythmia. What’s more, alcohol clogs up veins and arteries. So, it can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular insults.
Brain damage is also a real concern for chronic alcoholics. Prolonged use of alcohol can damage brain receptors and alter cognitive functions. We can experience this on a much smaller plane every time we consume alcohol.
Our vision gets blurry, and we have trouble articulating words. Furthermore, we can’t move properly, and we sometimes can’t remember our night of drinking. The more we drink, the more we are damaging our brain cells. By doing that, we are irrevocably altering our central nervous systems.
The immune system
Alcohol affects all our major organs, including our cardiovascular systems. So it can also cause immune deficiency. Alcohol use alters our red and white blood cells and our platelets. Thus, it changes our immune system. This can be particularly dangerous. A compromised immune system leads to a higher risk of viral and bacterial infections such as pneumonia and TB.
Finally, making babies is a whole lot harder if you drink a lot. It often leads to malnourishment and vitamin deficiency. Those problems can, on their own, cripple our reproductive system. But, alcohol can also lower our libidos and the quality of sperm or egg cells.
Aside from the apparent effects it has on internal organs, alcohol is also one of the leading causes of injuries and accidents. That makes it one of the most significant health risks.