Adults who drink large amounts of alcohol are causing serious damage to their health that they could pay for over time. Many of us are aware of the risk of cirrhosis of the liver but many of these other health threats aren’t as well known, take a look.
Habitual drinking increases the risk of cancer according to research. Scientists believe the amplified risk is caused when the body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is a powerful carcinogen. Cancers that are most common in drinkers include the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), liver, esophagus, breasts, and colorectal cancer. The risk for these cancers is multiplied if the drinker is also a smoker.
Heavy drinking can cause the number of red blood cells to be unusually low this is called anemia. Anemia can set off a series of symptoms which include shortness of breath, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
Gout is caused by the development of uric acid crystals in the joints of the body. While some cases are hereditary, alcohol and other dietary factors are beginning to be linked as well. If there is already gout present before the drinking becomes dramatically heavy it can get worse as the consumption level increases.
Binge drinking makes platelets more likely to form blood clots, which in turn can lead to heart attack and stroke. In fact binge drinking doubles the risk of death among people who survived an initial heart attack. Cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle weakens and eventually fails can also occur. Ventricular fibrillation, another heart condition can cause muddled twitching in the heart’s main pumping chambers and cause sudden loss of consciousness. If treatment isn’t received soon it can even be fatal.
Heavy drinking can result in a form of nerve damage known as alcoholic neuropathy, this produces a painful pins-and-needles feeling in the extremities, constipation, erectile dysfunction muscle weakness, and incontinence, among other problems. Alcoholic neuropathy arises because alcohol is toxic to nerve cells and nutritional deficiencies that come with heavy drinking damage nerve function.
As people age, their brains shrink about 1.9% per decade, heavy drinking hastens the shrinkage of certain key regions in the brain, this causes memory loss among other symptoms of dementia. It can also cause slight but potentially weakening deficits in the ability to make judgments, solve problems.