We can look at the term “risks” in a couple of different ways. First would be the risks associated with drinking alcohol and becoming dependent upon it. The other would be the risks to life and limb that are present with chronic heavy drinking. Both fit under the general term – risks.
Although word is out nowadays that light drinking can be good for you, your heart and body, there are many factors that are also non-beneficial. These should be reviewed before just using this earlier statement as an excuse to drink.
People between the ages of twelve and twenty are more at risk of developing into alcoholics than others. In one study, more than 40,000 adults said they started to drink before they were fourteen, and half of those were dependent upon alcohol by the time they were twenty-one. It has been found that young people who are more at risk than others had a history of family violence, stressful events and abuse.
Many of the alcoholics on record are men, but alcoholism in women has increased over the past decades. The US Centers for Disease Control states that approximately 17 percent of men and 8 percent of women can be considered alcohol-dependent during their lives at some point. Women seem to experience more adverse effects, such as cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis.
Elderly people, when they drink, even if they have had alcohol previously in their lives, are more at risk of problems as they age. The body is not as able to handle the stress on body organs. Organs are more easily damaged by the intake of alcohol. Additionally, when older people take other prescribed medications, these can have adverse reactions when mixed with alcoholic beverages.
There are a number of risks associated with problem-drinking as well as those who engage in heavy drinking. Besides the known risks of accidents such as falls, burns, drowning or traffic accidents, there are also health risks.
Some health risks come from just the risky behavior drinkers will often engage in. Sexually transmitted diseases come from careless behavior related to sex. Drinkers can get involved in risky actions such as arguments and other malicious behavior, and these can result in injury or even death.
When a female drinks while pregnant, the baby can develop problems and even have brain damage. No studies have shown how exactly drinking can harm a fetus, but it would simply be safer to just not drink when pregnant.
Conditions of the body result from heavy drinking. The effects of alcohol take a toll. It is important to know so you can curb drinking or even enter rehab to get off alcohol completely. The major health problems that can plague a person are numerous, and it is wise to consider these when reviewing a drinking problem and whether or not to seek help.
When alcohol is consumed, it can reduce the number of red blood cells, resulting in anemia. This illness can make a person extraordinarily tired, get short of breath and become lightheaded. In older people, dementia can result. Heavy drinking leads to the brain shrinking and can show in memory loss and dementia. A person won’t think as clearly, can’t plan well and in general become less mentally competent.
Gout can also result from drinking too much for too long a period. Alcohol has been shown to play a role in this disease, although it is mainly hereditary. Drinking will certainly aggravate an already existing case of gout. Because heavy drinking suppresses a person’s immune system, this can open the door to infections. Alcoholics can contract tuberculosis and pneumonia. Nerve damage can also be a result of drinking heavily. Muscle weakness, constipation, pins-and-needles in extremities and erectile dysfunction are signs this is happening.
Heavy drinking can cause an inflammation of the pancreas. When this becomes chronic, the digestion is disrupted. A person with pancreatitis will have chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and other symptoms. Stomach irritation is not uncommon in a heavy drinker.
Alcohol can affect the control of blood vessels in how they respond to exertion, stress and temperature. Drinking therefore can cause high blood pressure which can become chronic. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to other severe health problems.
Liver disease is all-too-common a result of heavy drinking. Cirrhosis of the liver can develop and end badly – death. Large amounts of alcohol kill the cells in the liver, so making it harder for it to function correctly.
Other common health problems resulting from chronic heavy drinking are:
>Heart rhythm abnormalities
The risk factors of drinking are too great to ignore. It is important to leave alcohol behind for good, and get healthy. A productive and happy life is possible!