When discussing the long term effects of alcohol, the risks of overdose and addiction are often at the top of the list. However, alcohol can also lead to severe health problems. While most problems don’t appear overnight, chronic alcohol consumption can impact the body in countless devastating ways. Take a look at some of the worst ways that alcohol can impact the body in the long term.
The liver is the organ that alcohol abuse or addiction impacts the most. When you drink alcohol, your liver produces a toxic enzyme known as acetaldehyde. Too much of this enzyme, and the liver can struggle with scarring as well as an increase in size.
Fatty liver is not a minor issue. It can lead to alcoholic hepatitis or even cirrhosis of the liver. If the liver stops working, then liver cancer or death are the most likely scenarios for patients.
Anyone who consumes alcohol likely knows that in the short term, it can impair cognitive function. If you drink heavily over the long term, however, those impairments can become permanent. Alcohol can kill brain cells, reducing the size and functioning capability of your brain.
If chronic consumption of alcohol damages your brain, you might struggle with permanent or short term memory loss. Also possible are symptoms such as a loss of spatial reasoning, a lowered attention span or the inability to think abstractly.
Drinking just three drinks in one sitting can cause a temporary, but significant, increase in blood pressure. Do that daily, or drink more than three drinks in a day, and your blood pressure can remain high permanently. A permanently raised blood pressure can cause heart failure, a stroke, vision loss or a heart attack.
Alcohol often leads to gastrointestinal bleeding. Even when this is minor, that blood loss may cause anemia. This is because of too little Vitamin B and iron.
Having anemia means struggling with weakness. It might also mean feeling dizzy and fatigued all day long. Physical exertion will be very challenging, and passing out is possible.
Alcohol is an irritant in the digestive system. It causes chronic inflammation, which can disrupt the entire system and lead to discomfort. In many cases, long term drinking can cause gastritis, which may cause indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. Intestinal inflammation can also mean the body can’t absorb nutrients and minerals, causing malnutrition.
Avoiding Long Term Effects of Alcohol Addiction
The only way to avoid these long term effects of alcohol is to stop drinking. If you need help with an alcohol addiction, then alcohol rehab is crucial. At Silver Pines Treatment Center outside of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, you can start your journey to better health. Call 267.719.8689 to begin living the life of fulfillment and sobriety that you deserve.