People drink alcohol for so many reasons ranging from happiness to sadness or disappointments. Though alcohol is a traditional drink for many societies and served at all important events, it poses some health dangers to our lives.
Alcohol toxins can damage many parts of our body especially the liver, pancreas and the heart.
Heavy drinking affects blood components such as the platelets that may clump together to form blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Besides, heavy drinking can also cause chronic heart disease known as cardiomyopathy.Cardiomyopathy is a potentially deadly condition in which the heart muscle weakens and eventually fails. This involves problems of heart rhythm abnormalities known as atrial and ventricular fibrillation.
In atrial fibrillation, the heart’s upper chambers (atria) twitch chaotically rather than constrict rhythmically, and this can cause blood clots that can trigger stroke. Ventricular fibrillation causes turbulent twitching in the heart’s main pumping chambers (ventricles). It causes rapid loss of consciousness and in absence of immediate treatment sudden death occurs.
Alcohol is also toxic to the liver cells, and many heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is usually a lethal condition in which the liver is so heavily scarred that it is unable to function.
However it is important to note that not every heavy alcohol drinker develops cirrhosis because there are people who drink big volumes of alcohol and yet don’t get cirrhosis. There are also cases of small time drinkers who develop cirrhosis without any underlying condition.
Consumption of alcohol can also have an effect on the functioning of the brain. Normally as people grow older, their brain system tends to shrink and this has been proven scientifically as a normal living situation. But high dosage of alcohol at an old age speeds up the shrinkage of certain key regions in the brain, resulting in memory loss. Memory loss coupled with symptoms form a condition known as dementia.
Decrease of brain function has potentially debilitating deficits in the ability to plan, make judgements, solve problems, and perform other aspects of executive function that are of important value to our well-being. Absence or failure of the brain to perform the mentioned functions leads to a miserable life. A good brain function is vital to life because it allows us to maximise our function as human beings. Heavy alcohol drinks can cause chronic or permanent dizziness and body shakings in form of seizures even in individuals without epilepsy.
Many alcohol takers for a long time have been found to have a painful condition known as gout.
Gout is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. Although some cases are largely hereditary, alcohol and other dietary factors seem to play a role. Alcohol is also an aggravating factor to the gout sufferers.
There is proven evidence that links increase of blood pressure with alcoholism. Alcohol can disrupt the sympathetic nervous system that among other things controls the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in response to stress, temperature, and exertion. The effect of pressure increase can become chronic and this could give rise to some health problems such as kidney disease and stroke.
Drunkards normally develop nerve problems known as alcoholic neuropathy, which can produce a painful pins-and-needles-feeling or numbness in the extremities as well as muscle weakness, incontinence, constipation, erectile dysfunction, and other problems. Alcoholic neuropathy may arise because alcohol is toxic to nerve cells and sometimes nutritional deficiencies attributable to heavy drinking might compromise nerve function.
There is a clear link between pancreatitis and anemia of unknown origin in alcoholic patients.
Alcohol can damage the pancreas and cause a health burden known as pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis interferes with the digestive process, causing severe abdominal pain and persistent diarrhea. Over doses of alcohol can cause the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells to be abnormally low. This condition is known as anemia that manifests in various symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath among others.