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Alcoholism is a disease that affects an estimated 107 million people around the world. Understanding the long term effects of alcohol on the body can help you make the right decisions about your health and your future. At Sober Living America, we are here to help in your journey toward sobriety. Here are some of the most concerning negative effects that long-term consumption of alcohol can have on the human body.
Diseases of the Liver
Cirrhosis of the liver is one of the most commonly known long term effects of alcohol on the body. This condition is caused by scarring and fibrosis of the liver, which reduces the liver’s ability to filter toxins and impurities from the bloodstream. Alcohol use and abuse can also be responsible for cases of alcoholic hepatitis and steatosis, which is more commonly referred to as fatty liver disease. These issues typically arise after years of alcohol use and abuse.
Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Over time and with consistent use, alcohol can have an impact on the way in which your brain functions. Alcohol can block the chemical communications between neurons in the brain, which can lead to temporary slurring of speech, increased impulsivity and slower reflexes. Prolonged abuse of alcohol can increase the risks that these temporary symptoms may become permanent. Medical researchers have also found that people dependent on alcohol can suffer from a condition known as brain shrinkage, which is a significant reduction in the volume of brain cells and the communication pathways within the brain.
Heart Problems Linked to Alcoholism
Some of the most common heart issues associated with excessive alcohol use include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and strokes. Some people with long-term alcohol abuse problems may also develop cardiomyopathy, which is a disease that results in the atrophying of the heart muscles and increased difficulty in pumping blood throughout your circulatory system.
Issues With the Pancreas
A healthy pancreas produces enzymes that are necessary for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Prolonged and heavy use of alcohol can affect the ability of the pancreas to function properly and, in some cases, may result in an illness called pancreatitis. This inflammation of the pancreas can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. Hospital treatment is generally required to stabilize the patient and to provide added help in treating the pain associated with this issue.
Increased Risk of Cancer
Medical researchers agree that excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer, including the following:
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cancers of the head or neck
- Cancers affecting the esophagus, the mouth or the larynx
- Colorectal cancer
Some studies indicate that even one drink per day can boost the chance of contracting certain types of cancers. The National Cancer Institute has compiled some useful information on the added risk of cancer posed by alcohol use.
Sober Living America Can Help
At Sober Living America, we offer support for those struggling with addiction and that are seeking a life of sobriety. We are an addiction recovery program that has helped thousands of people with housing, career assistance, transportation and recovery services. If you are worried about the long term effects of alcohol on the body or are working to overcome any other type of addiction, give us a call today at 1-877-430-0086. As a faith-based addiction program, we can provide help for those who need it regardless of their financial situation. Visit us online to learn more about how we can help.