Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Alcohol Related Illnesses Pt.1

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Addiction, Alcohol

Alcohol Related Illnesses Pt1

Chronic alcohol use can be very detrimental to your health. Long-term use of alcohol is capable of damaging nearly every organ and system in the body.

 Alcohol Related Illnesses: Cardiomyopathy

Drinking alcohol in large quantities has a toxic effect on the heart. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and the heart muscle thins. The weakened heart muscle then pumps inefficiently, which can eventually lead to heart failure. In severe cases, the lack of blood flow affects all parts of the body and causes damage to many tissues and organs.

Alcohol Related Illnesses:  Liver Diseases

Alcoholic liver disease is liver injury attributed to alcohol abuse. It is defined by three stages of liver damage following chronic heavy alcohol consumption: Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and fibrosis/cirrhosis, but the disease doesn’t always progress linearly. Sometimes these stages overlap, and some cases of alcoholic liver disease never progress, despite the patient continuing to abuse alcohol.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Lung Disease

Chronic alcohol abuse can cause a deficiency in the antioxidant glutathione in the lung disease, making a person more susceptible to serious lung diseases. Lowered glutathione levels can be as deadly as alcohol itself can be to the liver and other organs. Glutathione protects the lungs from oxidative damage, so depletion can cause damage to the epithelial cells and fluid that lines the lungs, changes in the barrier functions of lung cells and increased susceptibility to cell death in the lungs.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Cancer

The way that alcohol causes cancer is not completely understood. It could be that alcohol itself causes cancer by increasing hormone levels or it may be carcinogenic because of the way it is metabolized. Nevertheless, chronic alcohol abuse increases risk for certain types of cancers. Oral, esophageal, laryngeal, and pharyngeal cancers are more common in alcohol users than in non alcohol users. Smokers who also drink are at a much higher risk. Alcohol is also a major cause of liver cancer, breast cancer, and cancers of the colon and rectum.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Sexual Dysfunction

Long term intake of alcohol can lead to damage to the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system resulting in loss of sexual desire and impotence in men. Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is a condition in which a man is unable to achieve an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. In some cases, the man is able to achieve an erection but unable to maintain it long enough to complete the sex act. Alcohol can block nerve impulses and messages between the brain and the body. It can also deplete levels of testosterone.

Alcohol Related Illnesses: Ascites     

Chronic alcohol use destroys the liver by replacing normal liver tissue with fibrotic tissue, which can’t perform normal liver functions. When enough of the liver turns fibrotic, the liver can no longer perform its duties and protein rich fluid leaks from the blood vessels around the liver and accumulates in the stomach. This fluid, known as ascites, distends the stomach and often seeps down into the legs and feet as well. Ascites puts pressure on nearby organs, causing damage.        \



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