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Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Common Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Alcohol Drinking

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is harmful to your health. Alcohol is a drug that affects every body system, though the detrim­ental effects vary for each indivi­dual.
The volume of alcohol consumed, genetics, gender, body mass, and general state of health all influence how a person's health responds to chronic heavy drinking.
When the body takes in more alcohol than it can metabo­lize, the excess builds up in the bloods­tream. The heart circulates the blood alcohol throughout the body, leading to changes in chemistry and normal body functions.
Even a one-time binge-­dri­nking episode can result in signif­icant bodily impair­ment, damage, or death. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the develo­pment of many chronic diseases and other serious health problems.

Common Risks

Liver disease
Ulcers and gastro­int­estinal problems
Immune system dysfun­ction
Brain damage
Malnou­ris­hment and vitamin defici­encies
Heart disease
Accidents and injuries

Physical Symptoms

Change in appearance – Sudden gain or loss of weight.
Poor physical coordi­nation.
Loss of appetite, increase in appetite or any changes in eating habits.
Bloodshot or watery eyes.
Consis­tently dilated pupils.
Nausea, vomiting.
Frequent colds, sore throat, coughing.
Chroni­cally inflamed nostrils, runny nose.
Dizzy spells, stumbling, shaky hands.
Consistent run down condition.
Speech pattern changes, slurred speech, faster speech, slower speech.
Irregular heartbeat.

Excessive Alcohol Consum­ption

Key Points

Excessive alcohol use is the fourth leading preven­table cause of death in the United States.
The definition of heavy drinking is consuming eight drinks or more per week for women, and 15 or more for men.
Per occasion, more than three drinks for women, and more than four for men is considered heavy drinking.
Binge drinking is defined as five drinks or more for men, or four or more for women on a single occasion.
Any alcohol consumed by pregnant women is excessive use.
Alcohol is consis­tently associated with violent crime.
4% of the global burden of disease is attrib­utable to alcohol.
Alcohol consum­ption can cause substa­ntial harm to the health of others besides the drinker.
People who begin drinking at an early age are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at or after the age of 21.
Individual differ­ences in alcohol metabolism may put some people at greater risk for health problems.
Depending on body weight, the blood alcohol level can raise to illegal levels after only two drinks.
The majority of alcohol metabolism takes place in the liver; while with other organs contribute to alcohol metabolism as well.
Research suggests that many of the toxic effects of alcohol are due to the body's coming in contact with acetal­dehyde, the carcin­ogenic byproduct of alcohol metabo­lism.