A glass of wine or gin now and again may not necessarily be a cause for concern, but when it becomes an everyday feature, then it might be time to pause and access, because you might be putting your life and health in jeopardy. Alcohol can damage your body’s organs and lead to various health concerns. For women, this damage happens with lower doses of alcohol, because their bodies have lower water content than men. That’s why the moderate drinking guidelines for women and men are so different.
As this point, one could ask; how do I know when my drinking has become excessive?
According to medical experts, “Heavy or high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and for men older than age 65 (that’s just one drink a day).” For men under the age of 65, heavy drinking is defined as “more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week.”
Among the several things that could go wrong with excessive alcohol consumption, these ones are top of the list;
High risk of liver problems
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, where an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) breaks it down. Because of the burden of processing on this organ, consuming alcohol in excess can result in many liver problems like cirrhosis which is a very serious liver disease. Other diseases like cancers of the liver, stomach, breast, colon, and oral cancer, are possible when there is excessive alcohol intake.
Excessive drinking may lead to heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure. Dr. Hensrud adds that “too much alcohol may raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Both can put you at higher risk for heart disease.
Possible pancreas and stomach issues
Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances, and as a result, too much drinking raises the likelihood that you could develop inflammation in your pancreas (a condition called pancreatitis) and in the lining of your stomach.
Increased higher blood pressure
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases.
Alcohol can also increase your blood pressure through other longer-term measures: Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and may contribute to unwanted weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol puts you at risk of several neurological issues, for multiple reasons. For starters, alcohol is a neurotoxin that can disrupt communications of the brain. It also affects functions of brain cells directly and indirectly through different organ dysfunction from alcohol usage and vitamin deficiency.
Abusing alcohol can lead to seizure, stroke, and dementia, to name a few conditions. Additionally, alcohol is toxic to a developing brain during pregnancy and can cause birth defects, including developmental disorders with lifelong impact.
High risk of addiction
When you drink alcohol every day, you put yourself at risk of developing an addiction. As it relates to alcohol, this addiction is known as alcohol use disorder, which includes a level that’s sometimes called alcoholism.
“Alcoholism develops over time as people get into a habit. As tolerance for alcohol increases, consumption often rises as well. You need to be cautious not to develop a bad habit with alcohol, because the consequences are often always very severe.
After all is said and done, excessive alcohol consumption can ultimately lead to death from the multiple complications that could arise.