It’s no secret that alcohol consumption can cause major health problems including cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol consumption has being linked with more than 60 diseases.
Drinking too much on a single occasion or over time can take a serious toll on one’s health. Here are some ways alcohol consumption can affect the body.
Pancreas: Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxin substances that can eventually leads to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation of land swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Cirrhosis: Alcohol is toxic to liver cells and many heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis, a sometimes lethal condition in which the liver is so heavily scarred that it is unable to function.
Immune system: Drinking too much can weaken one’s immune system, making the body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink.
Depression: It has long been known that heavy drinking and depression go hand-in-hand even though no one is sure which comes first.
Gout: This is a painful condition and is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. Although in some cases it is hereditary but alcohol seems to aggravate existing cases of gout.
Cancer: Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing certain cancers including cancer of the mouth, esophagus, breast, liver, throat etc.
Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis or fatty liver, fibrosis.
Brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
High blood pressure: Alcohol can disturb the sympathetic nervous system which among other things controls the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in response to temperature, stress, exertion etc. Heavy drinking can cause blood pressure to rise and overtime the effect can be chronic and lead to other health problems like stroke, kidney disease, heart disease etc.
Nerve damage: Heavy drinking can cause a form of nerve damage known as alcoholic neuropathy which can produce a painful pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in the extremities as well as muscle weakness, constipation, erectile dysfunction, incontinence and other problems. Alcoholic neuropathy may arise because alcohol is toxic to nerve cells or because nutritional deficiencies attributable to heavy drinking compromise nerve function.
Heart: Heavy drinking over a long period of time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart causing problems like stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle).