The Consequences of Alcohol: Symptoms and Effects
The consequences of alcohol consumption that goes beyond recommended include:
- Medical: Alcohol leads to damage to organs such as the liver, the central nervous system, the risk of acute myocardial infarction, pulmonary tuberculosis, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, the birth of children with birth defects and diseases, an increase in infant mortality, etc.
- Social: Consequences of alcoholismfor society include an increase in crime, morbidity, disability, mortality, and similar issues.
- Socio-economic: A decrease in working capacity as a result of the effect of alcohol abuse on health leads to material and economic damage to society, a decrease in labor productivity, etc.
Consequences of alcohol use for health
In small doses, alcohol acts as a stimulant that helps release tension in muscles and relax. But the problem is that very few people can stay at the level of small doses of consumption. If the dose of alcohol is increased, then its effect becomes exactly the opposite, leading to negative consequences of alcohol abuse. The harmful effects of alcohol influence all systems of the human body and the harmful role of alcoholism in the development of acute and chronic diseases has been proven numerous times.
The brain is the most active user of energy. The negative effect of alcohol on the brain is associated with decreased oxygen supply to neurons as a result of alcohol intoxication. Irreversible consequences of alcoholism include damage to brain functions caused by damage to the cells of the cerebral cortex, which is the “thinking” area of the brain. Alcohol-related dementia, which is one of the consequences of alcohol use for a long period of time, is the result of the death of the brain cells.
Diseases of the cardiovascular system occupy a leading place in mortality. The heart muscle is negatively affected by alcohol, which leads to serious illness and death. X-ray examination reveals an increase in the volume of the heart, which does not develop in all individuals suffering from chronic alcoholism, but can occur no matter how long the person has been drinking. After a large dose of alcohol, even a healthy individual can experience cardiac arrhythmia, which gradually disappears. Alcohol abuse contributes to the development and progression of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and is often the direct cause of heart attacks.
Some diseases of the external respiratory system are also associated with alcohol use. The breathing process consists of four stages, and if any of them has issues, it will lead to serious respiratory problems. In people suffering from the 1st stage of chronic alcoholism, some stimulation of the respiratory function is noted: the minute ventilation and respiratory frequency increase. As the disease progresses, breathing worsens, various diseases may occur (chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, and others). Alcohol is often combined with tobacco. With the simultaneous exposure to these two poisons, the harmful consequences of alcohol and tobacco use increase.
Patients with chronic alcoholism often complain about issues with the function of the digestive system. Since the gastric mucosa is the first to experience the toxic effects of alcohol, it is not surprising that the consequences of alcohol abuse include gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers. With the development of alcoholism, the function of the salivary glands is also disrupted, leading to other health issues.
The liver occupies a special position among the organs of the digestive system. This is the main “chemical laboratory” of the body that has an antitoxic function and is involved in almost all types of metabolism: protein, fat, carbohydrate, water. Under the influence of alcohol, liver functions are impaired. This can lead to cirrhosis – the damage that causes improper functioning of the liver.
Compared to non-drinkers, women alcoholics have 2.5 times more diseases related to women’s health, which usually lead to infertility or children born with health issues. Children of alcoholics, especially if the mother drank alcohol during conception and pregnancy, may be born sick, weak, and also have a number of physical and mental disabilities.
One of the saddest consequences of alcohol drinking in excess is that according to an almost 20-year study, life expectancy was 24–28 years shorter in people with alcohol use disorder than in the statistical average. Systematic alcohol consumption leads to premature aging and disability. These statistics become even more daunting when we consider all the lost years and unhappy life that many alcoholics lead.
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