Long Term Effects of Alcohol

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Apr 20, 2019
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Excessive consumption of alcohol can make one susceptible to liver problems. Listed here are the long-term effects of alcohol on the body.
The legal age of drinking alcohol in the United States is 21 years. Yet, almost 80% of high school students have had a drink before they complete 21 years of age. As the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increases, one's ability to think clearly gets impaired.
One might experience a host of symptoms such as drowsiness, memory lapses, vomiting, upset stomach, distorted vision and hearing, impaired judgment, decreased perception and coordination, loss of consciousness, etc. Those who drink large amounts of alcohol on a daily basis can become susceptible to serious medical conditions.

Effects at Specific BAC Levels

Blood alcohol concentration, which is measured in mass per volume, refers to the concentration of alcohol in blood. So, a BAC of 0.03% means that 0.03 grams of alcohol is present per 100 grams of that individual's blood. Listed out are the effects of alcohol at specific BAC levels, as well as the long-term effects of alcohol use.

Well-being Stage (Up to 0.05 g%)

The person becomes a bit more talkative, and feels more relaxed and confident.

Euphoria Stage (0.05-0.08 g%)

The person becomes very talkative and begins to feel self-confident. His level of judgment and movement is impaired. He starts showing reduction in inhibitions that he may generally display.

Intoxication Stage (0.08-0.15 g%)

Due to alcohol, one's speech becomes slurred. He/she might lose his balance and coordination. The reflexes slow down and visual attention decreases. One might become emotionally unstable. One might feel nauseated, and may vomit.

Hazardous Stage (0.15-0.30 g%)

The person cannot walk without help. He becomes apathetic and feels sleepy. He shows signs of labored breathing, and can no longer remember events. He may even lose bladder control and consciousness.

Final Stage (Over 0.30 g%)

In this stage, excess of alcohol in the body leads to alcohol poisoning. The effects of alcoholic poisoning include coma and death. Basically, intoxication is the major cause of all injuries and deaths related to alcohol.
Over 30% of road accidents are due to intoxication. 37% of the child abuse cases are carried out by people who are intoxicated. 7% of people who commit suicide take their own life under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol also leads to a decrease in productivity at work, violent assaults, domestic abuse, and relationship problems.

Long-term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Every day, six people die due to alcohol poisoning. Over 15 million Americans are affected by alcohol-related diseases. 4700 teens are killed due to alcohol each year. Here are some of the common effects of alcohol on the body.

Weight Gain

Alcohol contains a lot of sugar. Due to its high calorie content, it could result in weight gain. Alcohol increases the cravings for food. As a result, alcoholics might eat at inappropriate times. This could be the contributing factor for an expanding waistline.

Skin

Alcohol causes dehydration. It also dilates the body's capillaries, thereby causing them to rupture. Thus, one can notice redness and broken veins on the face of a heavy drinker.

Eyes

Bloodshot eyes are a sign of alcohol addiction. Just like the capillaries under the skin, even the blood vessels of the eyes might rupture. The whites of the eyes might turn yellow, which could be a sign of liver disease in an alcoholic.

Body Odor

In case of heavy drinkers, excess alcohol is secreted in their urine and sweat, which is responsible for body odor. Also, their breath might smell bad.

Liver Diseases

Liver is the largest gland in our body. It has the ability to regenerate itself in case of injury and damage. However, years of abuse due to heavy drinking takes a toll on it. Liver could get affected by irreparable damage or liver diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis, liver cancer, enlarged liver, impaired liver function, liver cirrhosis, fatty liver, etc.

Heart Diseases

While moderate amount of alcohol may prove beneficial for heart's health, drinking in excess could make one susceptible to a heart attack, stroke, heart diseases, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, etc.

Brain Damage

Brain undergoes many structural and functional changes due to alcohol abuse. This could lead to problems in decision making, impulse control, speech problems, loss of memory, confusion, and disturbed sleep.

Nervous System

The nervous system too develops some problems due to chronic alcoholism. One may experience tingling, loss of sensation in hands and feet, etc.

Sexual Organs

In men, alcohol abuse could cause impotence, decrease in sperm count, erectile dysfunction, etc. In women, it could cause irregular periods, problems in conceiving, miscarriage, and painful labor.

Other Long-term Effects

➠ Depression
➠ Suicidal thoughts
➠ Nervous breakdown
➠ Changes in personality
➠ Dementia
➠ Hallucinations
➠ Mood swings
➠ Pancreatitis
➠ Ulcers
➠ Diabetes
➠ Obesity

Effects of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a condition that occurs when a toxic reaction takes place in the body due to excessive consumption of alcohol. It could lead to severe brain damage and even death. Binge drinking is the most common cause of alcohol poisoning, which might cause:
➠ Mental confusion
➠ Vomiting
➠ Seizures
➠ Stupor
➠ Coma
➠ Slow breathing (the person takes less than 8 breaths per minute)
➠ Irregular breathing (there is a difference of 10 seconds or more between breaths)
➠ Hypothermia
➠ Pale skin or bluish skin color
Excessive consumption of alcohol can ruin your health, and also adversely affect various aspects of your life. Thus, one should either refrain from drinking, or drink in moderation. For those who are addicted to alcohol, joining an alcoholic anonymous group or rehab center would prove to be beneficial.
Disclaimer: This information is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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