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Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

Over time, heavy drinking can cause permanent damage to the user’s body and brain. Several factors affect the severity and extent of this damage, including the drinker’s age and gender as well as the duration and extent of abuse.

The physical damage caused by sustained alcohol abuse includes:1

  • Liver Damage
  • Accumulation of fat in the liver
  • Cirrhosis – heavy scarring of the liver prevents blood flow; usually fatal
  • Alcoholic hepatitis – swelling of liver cells, causing blockage; sometimes fatal
  • Liver cancer
  • Heart Damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary disease – narrowing of the arteries, leading to heart attack or death
  • Enlarged heart
  • Irregular heartbeat, which can lead to heart attack or death
  • Decreased blood flow to the arms and legs
  • Stroke – blocked blood flow to the brain
  • Brain Damage
  • Lowered cognitive abilities
  • Destruction of brain cells, producing brain deterioration and atrophy
  • Mental disorders – increased aggression, antisocial behavior, depression, anxiety
  • Damage to sense of balance, causing more accidental injuries
  • Bone Damage
  • Bone growth that normally takes place in teenage years is stunted
  • Osteoporosis – severe back pain, spine deformity, increased risk of fractures
  • Pancreas Damage
  • Pancreatitis – Inflammation of the pancreas, causing abdominal pain, weight loss, and sometimes death
  • Cancer
  • Alcoholism increases a person’s chances of developing a variety of cancers of the pancreas, liver, breasts, colon, rectum, mouth, pharynx, and esophagus.
  • Sexual Problems
  • Reduced sperm count and mobility, as well as sperm abnormality
  • Menstrual difficulties, irregular/absent cycles, and decreased fertility
  • Early menopause
  • Birth Defects
  • Drinking any alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent, severe damage, by putting the child at risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Footnotes

1 InTheKnowZone Alcohol Page.

Effects Of Alcohol. Long-Term Effects. Alcohol harm the body.

The long term health effects of alcohol

Possible long-term effects of Ethanol

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