It’s no secret that drinking alcohol can cause serious health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver and injuries sustained in car accidents. But liver disease and car accidents are far from the only consequences of alcoholism. Researchers have proven the connection between alcohol consumption and the occurrence of more than sixty types of diseases.
Alcohol affects all processes in the body, and we still do not know the limits of its influence. This process is extremely complex. There are twelve health risk factors associated with chronic alcoholism.
Alcoholism can cause a critical decrease in the blood level of red blood cells, which are oxygen carriers. This condition is called “anemia” and, in turn, can cause a range of symptoms, including chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
Constant use of alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer. According to scientists, the risk of developing this disease increases when the body converts alcohol into aldehyde acetic acid, a strong carcinogen. With alcohol abuse, a malignant tumor can affect such areas as the oral cavity, pharynx (larynx), windpipe (voice box), esophagus, liver, chest area, as well as the colon and rectum. Even more, the risk of developing cancer increases in those who not only drink a lot, but also smoke.
Diseases of the cardiovascular system
Frequent consumption of alcohol, especially in excessive amounts, causes platelets to gather in groups, forming blood clots, which can trigger a heart attack or heart attack. In the course of an important study conducted in 2005, scientists from Harvard found out that as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, the risk of death among people who have previously experienced a heart attack doubles.
In addition, alcoholism can lead to cardiomyopathy, a fatal disease in which the heart muscle weakens and atrophies. It also leads to heart rhythm disturbances, for example, to fibrillation of the atria and ventricles. Atrial fibrillation, in which the contraction of the heart’s upper chambers (atria) becomes erratic and can cause rhomboids to form and, as a result, a heart attack. Ventricular fibrillation causes the heart’s main pumping chambers (ventricles) to contract erratically. The result is almost instantaneous loss of consciousness, and then, in the absence of immediate medical intervention, instant death.
Alcohol is a poison to liver cells, and many people who abuse alcohol develop cirrhosis, sometimes with fatal results. With cirrhosis, the liver is scarred to the point that it stops functioning. But predict which of the drinking people may develop cirrhosis. Some people drink excessively and at the same time they do not develop cirrhosis. Others drink much less and suffer from this disease.
With age, the human brain shrinks, on average at a rate of 1.9% per ten years. This is a normal phenomenon. But alcoholism accelerates the decline of some key parts of the brain. This can lead to memory loss and other manifestations of dementia.
Also, alcoholism can cause minor but health-debilitating impairments in the brain’s ability to plan, reason, problem-solve, and perform other executive functions of the brain—the higher-order abilities that allow us to maximize our functions as human beings.
In addition to this “non-specific” insanity, which is the result of brain atrophy, alcoholism can lead to such a severe nutritional deficiency that it will cause other forms of mental retardation.
It has long been known that alcoholism is often accompanied by depression. But until now there is a debate about what comes first, depression or alcoholism? One theory is that people suffering from depression use alcohol to “medicate,” that is, to relieve their emotional distress. But a large-scale study conducted in New Zealand proved that everything happens the other way around: alcoholism leads to depression.
The study also found that depression levels decrease when a person who abuses alcohol stops drinking.
Alcoholism can cause the development of a disease such as epilepsy, and also trigger epileptic seizures, even in people who do not suffer from epilepsy. In addition, alcohol abuse can reduce the effectiveness of drugs intended to stop seizures.
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