Alex was a guy his family admired and friends envied. He had a excellent job, loving family, extensive social circle and investments here and there. Unfortunately, he was also heavily into drinking. But his habits rarely bothered anybody as he had been a star performer on the job. At home too, he devoted time and seldom got disoriented until a day when he had been pronounced dead as a result of stroke.
- Brain disruptions – Even occasional drinking may disturb the balance of hormones in the brain, causing delay in transmitting the signals because of which you may feel drowsy. Alcohol may also prompt mood and behavioral changes in the kind of agitation, depression and cognitive decline. Heavy drinking might cause the shrinkage of brain tissue, resulting in disturbances in temperature regulation, motor coordination, sleep cycle and cognitive capabilities. Alcohol consumption also results in the release of another neurotransmitter, serotonin, which regulates endorphins and creates euphoria. The brain compensates for these changes by bringing some alterations which could create negative effects like alcohol tolerance, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
- Cardiac problems – Recurrent drinking interrupts the heart muscles (cardiomyopathy). Because of this, sufficient blood may not be pumped into different organs which could cause organ failure. Cardiomyopathy results in shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat and may even lead to heart failure. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption causes the heart to release certain chemicals that constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure. Both long-term and binge drinking might cause stroke in people without coronary heart disease.
- Liver-related issues – Excessive alcohol consumption, even for a couple of days, causes fat accumulation in the liver. The condition is referred to as steatosis or fatty liver. This is the most popular alcohol-induced liver disorder. This paves the way for an inflammatory disease called alcoholic hepatitis. For some individuals, alcoholic steatosis may be curable, while in others it might produce symptoms like fever, nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. These signs can get aggravated by liver enlargement, jaundice, bleeding and clotting complications. Moreover, alcohol can also cause scarring of the liver called fibrosis. Fibrosis worsens into a condition called as cirrhosis that prevents the liver from performing important functions like nutrient absorption, scavenging harmful substances from the bloodstream and handling infections. This may lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, jaundice and even liver cancer.
- Cancer risk – Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with a greater propensity for developing cancer of mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver and breast. People who smoke and drink are more prone to developing cancer compared to people who do not. Alcohol breakdown within the body produces a chemical called acetaldehyde that’s toxic in nature. Acetaldehyde interrupts the genetic material of these cells, causing their rapid expansion. Cancer may then manifest readily in such diminished cells. Alcohol may also increase the amount of estrogen within the body which could increase susceptibility to breast cancer. Alcohol consumption can interrupt the pancreas and its functions. In addition, it can impair the immune system and make the body vulnerable to a host of medical issues. In addition to physical and psychological harm, it can heighten the danger of drunk driving, violence, unsafe sexual practice and injuries. It’s important that one seeks professional help before it’s too late.