Long-term use of alcohol has serious health implications, which is why addicts need to be encouraged to quit and should consider visiting one of the professionally run alcohol rehabilitation centers. Here are some of the physical complications that are likely to plague an addict.
Long-term use of alcohol can cause heart failure. The toxins in alcohol weaken the heart muscle over time. When this happens the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently and this can eventually lead to heart failure. This is one of the risky conditions that is monitored in alcohol rehabilitations centers and is referred to as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Men who are over the age of 35 are particularly vulnerable to this disease.
Long-term alcohol abuse and binge drinking can also cause a condition referred to as Arrhythmias. An irregular heartbeat characterizes the condition. Scientists believe that alcohol causes an imbalance of electrolytes and adrenergic hypersensitivity which are some of the factors that lead to Arrhythmias.
Toxins in alcohol can be handled by the liver when small amounts of alcohol are consumed. However, heavy and prolonged intake of alcohol will eventually damage the liver cells and make it harder for the liver to perform its functions effectively.
The damaging and scarring of tissues due to high consumption of alcohol can lead to liver cirrhosis. The liver becomes hard and lumpy and cannot perform its functions effectively. It is a serious condition that can lead to liver cancer and even death.
Other complications include fatty liver. As the name implies it is simply the buildup of excess fat in the liver. People who do not consume alcohol at all can also develop the condition due to poor nutrition or lack of exercise amongst other factors. An overweight person who also happens to be an alcoholic is particularly prone to the disease.
As with all the other health complications, the risk of getting cancer increases with the level of alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can increase the risk of getting different types of cancer from mouth, colon and rectum, liver, and breast cancer.
Women who consume significant amounts of alcohol regularly have a higher chance of developing breast cancer. Women already have a higher risk of breast cancer than men even without consuming alcohol. Drinking increases the level of estrogen in the body and this is a factor that is believed to cause the higher risk of getting the disease for both men and women.
Colon and rectal cancer is also a risk for alcoholics. The risk increases depending on the amount of alcohol consumed over a significant period. The correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed and increased risk has never been exhaustively studied. Men are at a higher risk of colon and rectal cancer than women. It is believed that this is due to the higher amounts of alcohol consumed by men in general.
Weakened Immune System
An alcoholic is more susceptible to diseases and this is a result of the weakening effect of alcohol on the immune system. Scientists believe that the damage that alcohol does to the liver is partly because of a weak immune system. It can increase the risk of HIV infection, higher rates of Tuberculosis incidences, and susceptibility to infections such as cellulitis, lung abscess, Meningitis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, amongst other serious infections.
There are also physical problems observed in alcoholics who are trying to quit the habit. These symptoms can be serious and it is part of the reason an addict needs to be observed when in alcohol rehab facilities. Some of the physical withdrawal symptoms of alcohol include profuse sweating, tremors, convulsion, slurred speech, etc.
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