Having a glass daily is okay, but then if you are unable to stop yourself from reaching for that second and third glass too, then you can be sure this is one habit that’s going to affect your health negatively in the long-term. The cumulative effect of binge drinking or excessive drinking over a long period takes its toll on almost all parts of your body. Here’s a breakdown on the effects of alcohol on your body:
Alcohol affects the way the brain works, resulting in disruptive moods and behaviors. It makes it difficult to think clearly and coordinate movements and balance as communication between body and brain gets reduced. Slurred speech, numbness and tingling in hands and feet along with inability to make rational choices are the lot of alcohol abusers. Damage to the frontal lobe may also occur, resulting in loss of emotional control and short-term memory. Eventual brain damage is a given.
While drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may actually protect the heart, heavy drinking can result in high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure or heart disease; irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) or weakening of the heart muscles (cardiomyopathy) are some other side-effects.
Heavy drinking takes a heavier toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions like fibrosis, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis or fatty liver (steatosis).As the liver gets damaged over time, its ability to remove toxins gets impaired leading to toxin build-up and more inflammation. Women develop alcoholic liver diseases faster than men.
Excessive alcohol usage can result in abnormal activation of digestive enzymes that eventually lead to pancreatitis. A long-term side effect of this is a damaged pancreas that isn’t able to produce sufficient insulin to control sugar levels, resulting in diabetes.
While alcohol lowers inhibitions, it can also result in erectile dysfunction. Heavy drinking can result in infertility, lowered libido and can put an end to menstruation in women along with problems in pregnancy, delivery and miscarriage.
Long-term alcohol abuse leads to weakening and thinning of bones, resulting in fractures that don’t heal easily. It also leads to muscle wasting and muscle cramps.
Excessive drinking can predispose one to cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon or breast.
Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract infections, especially aggressive ones like tuberculosis and pneumonia. The immune system gets weakened making it difficult to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Breaking alcohol dependency is essential for having a healthier body. Do seek professional help.