The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption from The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

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The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is killing Americans at a record rate, with excessive alcohol use accounting for over 88,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Drinking too much has led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year from 2006 until 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No one can argue the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption – it reduces the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and even dementia. But excessive drinking can only cause harm. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems.

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Your gut

A single alcohol binge can cause bacteria to leak from the gut and increase levels of bacterial toxins in the blood, according to a study. These toxins are released when the cell wall is destroyed. Chronic alcohol use has been linked to increased gut permeability in the past. Potentially harmful products can travel through the intestinal wall and be carried to other parts of the body.

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Binge drinking

recent study found that heavy drinking among Americans rose by 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012. To make matters worse, people consume more in a shorter period of time. Binging is up almost 9 percent.  Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the country, according to the CDC.

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Anemia

Heavy alcohol consumption can cause suppression of blood cell production and the production of structurally abnormal blood cell precursors that cannot mature into functional cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. Alcoholics frequently have defective red blood cells that are destroyed prematurely, possibly resulting in anemia. Alcohol adversely affects the platelets and other components of the blood-clotting system.

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Various cancers

The Department of Health lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. The most common cancers linked to excessive drinking are head and neck cancers, esophageal, liver, breast, colon and rectum, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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Heart problems

Continuous consumption of alcohol weakens the heart muscle. The organ deteriorates because it has more difficulties pumping blood. The lack of blood flow can cause severe damage to organs and tissues, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Symptoms of cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs and feet, and irregular heartbeat. Heartburn is another problem because of the chemical reactions that happen in the stomach, according to Heartburn Remedies. The lower esophageal sphincter relaxes and allows that acid to enter the tube.

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High blood pressure

Excess of alcohol stops the liver from making the materials that help the blood to clot. Repeated drinking can raise your blood pressure too much, according to a study. The global estimate attributing to the risk for hypertensive disease from alcohol is 16 percent.

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Liver damage

Alcohol has been linked to fatty liver disease because it can damage or destroy liver cells, according to the American Liver Foundation. The organ’s job is to process everything we eat and drink, but if you drink more alcohol than it can handle, the liver can be seriously damaged. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis, where healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, is the most advanced form of liver illness that has to do with drinking. 

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Memory problems

Impaired memory is just one of many ways drinking too much alcohol affects the brain; persistent problems with learning ability are another. Women may be more susceptible than men to milder forms of alcohol–induced memory impairments, even when men and women consume comparable amounts of alcohol, according to research.

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Stroke

Alcohol can trigger symptoms of atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia), which increases the risk of stroke by five times. Liver damage due to too much alcohol can stop the liver from making substances that help your blood to clot. This can increase your risk of having a stroke caused by bleeding in your brain, according to the British Stroke Association.

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Belly fat

Alcohol can affect hormone levels, affecting the way calories are metabolized, causing your body to store the extra calories. Alcohol is fat-sparing, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The body will burn the calories from booze first before it burns any fat. Also, slcoholic drinks are high in calories that have no nutritional value. That’s why drinking can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

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Depression and anxiety

Alcohol inhibits the brain’s communication pathways, and can change the way it looks and works. These disturbances can lead to strange moods and behavior. Alcohol can also worsen mood swings and depression, which are common after stroke.

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Pancreatitis

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

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Diabetes

Excessive drinking causes chronic inflammation of the pancreas. As a result, it can’t secrete insulin properly, leading to diabetes. Also, diabetes is a common side effect of chronic pancreatitis, often caused by heavy alcohol use, according to the National Pancreas Foundation.

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Nerve damage

Alcoholic neuropathy is damage to the nerves that results from excessive drinking of alcohol. These nerves transmit signals between the body, the spinal cord, and the brain. Up to half of long-term heavy alcohol users develop this condition, according to the National Institutes of Health. The main symptom is pain in the limbs.

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Tooth decay

Tooth decay is common among heavy drinkers because of the sugars and acids in alcohol. It is the second most common risk factor for oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Gum disease and mouth sores are also common among people who have drunk for a long time. 

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Weak immune system

Drinking too much can deteriorate the immune system, making the body a lot more vulnerable to various diseases, according to NIAAA. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink often.  Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows the body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

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Osteoporosis

Human and animal studies clearly indicate that chronic heavy drinking, particularly during adolescence and the young adult years, can dramatically compromise bone quality and may increase osteoporosis risk. Further, research indicates that the effects of heavy alcohol use on bone cannot be reversed, even is a person is not drinking anymore.

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Lung infection

new study shows a link between excessive alcohol consumption and nitric oxide levels — a naturally produced gas that helps fight bacterial infections in the lungs, according to Medical Daily. Participants who had lower levels of the gas were also the excessive drinkers. The more a participant reported drinking, the lower their levels, which told researchers that their bodies were less equipped to kill bacteria and fight off lung infections.

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Infertility

Heavy drinking affects fertility, increasing the length of time it takes to get pregnant and reducing the chances of having a healthy baby, according to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. Drinking large amounts of alcohol over a period of time can result in irregular periods.

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Poor sleep

Alcohol is eliminated from the body rapidly and causes withdrawal symptoms two or three hours later. This has a negative reaction. People fall asleep quicker, but alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM), which is when you dream and actually rest.

The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption