Alcohol - A List of Diseases Associated With Alcoholism
Alcohol – should you drink it for your heart health?
Maybe, there is valid evidence that alcohol offers some cardiovascular protective effects when consumed in moderation - Moderate drinkers may well live a little longer and a little better from a glass of wine or two most nights.
But leaving moderation behind, few drugs devastate as systematically as alcohol when abused in large doses and over a long period of time. Here is a partial list of diseases and other medical conditions that are associated with the abuse of alcohol. These list items are taken from a document produced by SAMHSA for medical professionals.*
Alcohol…Does a Body Good?
Alcohol's effects on different systems or areas of the body
Increased rates of tongue, lip, larynx, stomach, colon, breast, liver, bile duct and esophagus cancers.
The Reproductive System
Impotence, sexual dysfunction, infertility, gynecomastia, testicular atrophy, osteophenia
The Endocrine System
Diabetes, ketoacidosis, gout
The Cardiovascular System
High blood pressure, heart disease, artery disease, sudden heart failure, heart attack
Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis
Anemia(s), marrow toxicity, an iron or folate deficiency, leucopenia
Increased Risks of Infection
Hep C, HIV, tuberculosis, meningitis, STD's, pneumonia
Pancreatitis, gastritis, diarrhea (chronic) esophagatitis, colitis, acid reflux, parotid enlargement
Seizure, Korsakof's syndrome, Wernicke's Syndrome, dementia, brain shrinkage, stroke, subdural hematoma, hemorrhage, neuropathy
Malnutrition from vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Only a Partial List
This is a very partial list (I left out any conditions or disorders that I had never heard of, which was more than half of all listed) but I think that even this partial list illustrates the damage that chronic alcohol abuse does.
So, a drink or two a day may do your heart good, but more than a few drinks a day greatly increases your risks of disease and death. You delude yourself if you accredit your heavy drinking to health preservation.
(Sorry, I know this sounds a bit preachy at the end there…but I sort of mourn for my own lost health and function – lost to only a decade or so of hard drinking- and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else.)
*(Read the full SAMHSA document here, Figure 3-11)
P.S. – The holidays are a notorious period of excess, including excessive drinking. They are also a time of family togetherness, and a time during which you might come to wonder about the health and habits of a loved on in your family. If you suspect that someone you care about is suffering a lessening of health and well-being due to alcohol abuse, you would do them a great service to get educated about the problem and the possible solutions, and then to do something about it.
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