Alcohol is an addictive drug that can have detrimental effects on health. It affects the brain, digestive system, heart, and immune system alike.
It can have a variety of side effects, such as short-term memory loss, unsteady movements, and altered perceptions. Longer-term consequences could include depression or an impaired capacity to think clearly. And there are several really serious health consequences of prolonged alcohol consumption. At the end of the day, it is important to understand that alcohol can be dangerous, although it is not when consumed in moderation.
Damage to the Brain
Alcohol can have a profound effect on the brain, even if those effects aren’t immediate and irreversible. While symptoms may not manifest right away, long-term damage is usually permanent and irreparable.
Alcohol damages the nerve cells (neurons) in your brain, leading to a slowing down of thinking and short-term memory, as well as feelings of anxiety and depression.
Alcohol has also been known to damage the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for balance and coordination. Furthermore, it impairs front lobe function which affects abstract thinking and planning.
People who consume excessive alcohol over time are more susceptible to developing an alcohol-related brain injury (ARBI). Common signs of ARBI include disorientation, blackouts, and slurred speech.
Damage to the Digestive System
The digestive system is an integral component of good health. It consists of several organs, such as the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and stomach.
Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on your digestive system and may increase the risk of cancer. Additionally, it slows down how fast food moves through your intestines at normal speeds.
Your stomach and intestines are the first lines of defense in combatting toxins entering your body, but alcohol can wreak havoc on these vital organs.
This can lead to a variety of issues, such as leaky gut (which causes diarrhea), increased bacterial growth, and impaired nutrient absorption.
According to Dr. Tanvir Haque, a gastroenterologist at UNC Health, drinking can disrupt mucous production in your stomach and weaken its lining, increasing your likelihood of heartburn or acid reflux. Prolonged exposure to excessive alcohol could damage this lining and lead to ulcers or even stomach cancer; additionally, it irritates the lower esophageal sphincter which normally prevents acid from backing up into your esophagus.
Long-Term Side Effects of Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse has serious, even fatal, long-term consequences. Prolonged heavy drinking can wreak havoc on your brain as well as other organs like the liver, heart, and kidneys.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your immune system. It can weaken bones and put you at greater risk for infection, cancer, and other health issues.
Heavy drinking can reduce the absorption of calcium in your body, placing you at greater risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Chronic drinking can also lead to cirrhosis, a liver disorder that is an increasingly major cause of death among heavy drinkers.
Heavy alcohol use can damage the arteries and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. It also leads to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that may result in digestive issues.
Over the years, humans have debated whether alcoholic beverages are healthy or not. While some studies suggest moderate drinking can benefit the heart, especially when talking about healthier options, like organic cane alcohol, other research indicates too much alcohol may lead to serious health issues.
Moderation is the key to responsible drinking. That means consuming an average of one to two drinks daily for men and one for women.
This is equal to one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.
Recent research indicates that regularly consuming more alcohol than the recommended amount could increase your risk of death. It found that having 7-14 drinks per week was linked with a six-month shorter life expectancy compared to those who drank less frequently.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to understand is that alcohol can be very damaging to your health. It is going to have a strong negative impact on your body.
What is particularly important is that alcoholism has huge dangerous long-term side effects you should take seriously. It is so easy to end up consuming too much. As you saw above, the amount you have to consume to be considered in moderation is not that much. Most people do go over those limits since alcohol is so easily accessible these days.
Fortunately, if you do not go overboard, your health is not going to be negatively affected. Self-restraint is what is important.