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Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Started drinking too much recently? Be aware of the harmful effects as well. Heavy drinking can be very harmful for you or the heavy drinker you care for.

Exercise & Fitness By Meenakshi Chaudhary / May 19, 2014


Alcohol has been a reason to social for many and a weakness to some. Drinking moderately has been appreciated by everyone, including doctors while on the other hand heavy drinking is bound to have serious side effects. Here are the risks posed by excessive drinking. Image Courtesy : Getty Image


The number of oxygen – carrying red blood cells reduces abnormally low due to heavy drinking. This condition is called anemia which can trigger a host of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


According to scientists habitual drinking increases the risk of cancer due to the conversion of   alcohol into acetaldehyde, a potent carcinogen by the body.  Mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, breast, and colorectal region are the cancer sites that are linked to alcohol. The risk tends to rise higher in heavy drinkers who also consume tobacco. Image Courtesy: Getty Image

Cardiovascular Disease

Heavy drinking or bingeing can make the platelets to clump together into blood clots which can eventually result in a heart attack or stroke. According to a landmark study conducted by Harvard researchers, binge drinking doubled the risk of death among people who initially survived a heart attack. It was also observed that heavy drinking can also cause cardiomyopathy which is potentially condition. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


Alcohol is highly toxic for liver cells and even develops cirrhosis, a condition in which liver is unable to function, in heavy drinkers. However, it is not easy to predict which drinkers will develop cirrhosis in future. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


Our brain has tendency to shrink as grow older with an average rate of about 1.9% per decade. That's considered normal. But the shrinkage in heavy drinkers is faster than the non drinkers resulting in memory loss and dementia. Apart from developing “nonspecific" dementia that stems from brain atrophy, heavy drinking can also lead to nutritional deficiencies so severe that they can trigger other forms of dementia as well. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


Depression and alcohol go hand in hand. While people drink more to get some relief from depression, drinking too much can also leave a person depressed. Quitting alcohol has also been found to improve depression. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


Alcohol depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions of gag reflex. Too much of alcohol can leave a person with no gag reflex for some time. If the person vomits due to upset stomach also caused by alcohol there are chances of that person choking on his own vomit due to poor gag reflex. It can result in asphyxiation. Image Courtesy: Getty Image

Liver Disease

Liver disease is certainly one of the most common and damaging effects of excessive drinking. Alcohol can cause liver diseases like alcoholic fatty liver Disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


Alcohol can inflate the pancreas which helps in digestion and regulates the glucose it takes from food for energy. When inflamed however, the enzymes inside the pancreas attack and damage the tissues that produce them. It can even cause bleeding or infection. Image Courtesy: Getty Image

Weight Gain

Alcohol will cause you to gain a waistline much quicker than most of fast foods. A study revealed that drinking five pints of alcohol a week has an equivalent amount of calories as eating 220 doughnuts a year. Image Courtesy: Getty Image


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