Having a drink at the end of a long day or to celebrate an occasion is a joy for many. However, it becomes a problem when a drink casually turns into two, three or maybe four – and regularly.
According to the CDC, moderate alcohol consumption by women is defined as drinking up to one drink a day. For men, it’s up to two drinks. However, remember that this is not an average of several days. Those who drink 8-15 drinks a week (or more) are considered heavy drinkers, and this lifestyle can lead to many serious health problems.
Below, you will see only five dangerous side effects that drinking alcohol in excess and regularly can pose to your health. And for more important health news, be sure to read about The One Vitamin Doctors Are Asking everyone to take it now.
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Those who drink chronically are more likely to have heart-related problems than those who don’t drink. Women who drink regularly are at even greater risk of developing heart disease than men.
According to an article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, excessive alcohol intake can lead to a myriad of health problems, which include heart problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure and even stroke.
In addition, drinking alcohol regularly can cause you to gain extra weight – which can also negatively affect your heart health. In the same article, Johns Hopkins cardiologist John William McEvoy, MBBCh., MHS said, “Alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can be harmful in the long run.”
For more tips on keeping your watch in good shape, be sure to check out These are the two best diets for heart health, according to doctors.
It is common knowledge that pregnant women should not drink, as this may increase the risk of premature birth, miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) disorders, or stillbirth. However, what many may not know is that women who drink a lot you may have trouble getting pregnant.
One study, which looked at 6,120 women aged 21 to 45, found that those who drank at least 14 alcoholic beverages a week (which is about two drinks a day) were 18% less likely to conceive than those who drank less or not at all.
Related: What your diet should look like if you have gestational diabetes, according to an RD.
An analysis of six studies published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Addiction revealed a strong association between alcohol consumption and osteoporosis – a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone or a combination of the two. Essentially, the more alcohol you drink regularly, the greater your risk of developing bone disease.
More specifically, those who consumed two or more drinks a day were 1.63 times more likely to develop osteoporosis. This is because excessive alcohol consumption can inhibit the absorption of nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health.
“We know that alcohol abuse has damaging effects on bone health,” Russell T. Turner, PhD, a researcher at the Skeletal Biology Laboratory at Oregon State University told CreakyJoints. “What we don’t know is how much of the effect is alcohol directly on the bones compared to the other comorbidities that occur with alcohol users.”
For example, pancreatitis, diabetes and liver disease can play a role in osteoporosis, all of which are negative health outcomes associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
According to the American Addiction Centers, people who drink excessively are at risk of developing dysarthria, which is the medical term for the difficulty in saying words. This change in speech can be caused by several conditions, such as brain injury, brain tumor and stroke … just to name a few. However, drinking too much over time can cause brain damage and make dysarthria permanent.
Perhaps one of the most well-known effects of excessive drinking is liver damage. The liver is responsible for breaking down and removing harmful substances and toxins from the body. However, drinking alcohol regularly (and a lot) can interrupt this important process and also increase the risk of chronic liver inflammation and liver disease.
Liver disease can lead to the accumulation of toxins and waste in your body, which can be fatal.
In short, you can drink alcohol if you want, but do so in moderation to avoid health problems. For more information, read What happens to your body when you give up alcohol.