You may have heard that drinking in moderation is safe, but the truth is that there is no such thing as safe drinking. Drinking less will certainly decrease your odds of suffering from the many health consequences of alcohol; however, the only safe way to drink is to not drink at all. Listed below are four severe health consequences of drinking, which highlight the importance of abstaining from alcohol for life.
1. Alcoholic Liver Disease
Of all the health problems caused by drinking, alcoholic liver disease is the most talked about. Why? Because it affects up to 20 percent of heavy drinkers -- and it can have devastating consequences, including death.
If left untreated, alcoholic liver disease will progress to cirrhosis, which means the liver is too scarred to heal itself. In the United States alone, this leads to almost 32,000 deaths per year -- a sobering statistic.
Fortunately, early stages of alcoholic liver disease can often be reversed by abstaining from alcohol and getting treatment.
2. Cardiovascular Disease
Though it may not get the same attention as alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular disease is another major health consequence of drinking too much alcohol. Heavy drinking increases your odds of developing diabetes due to alcohol's effects on insulin sensitivity.
In addition to causing insulin problems, alcohol consumption also increases your blood pressure, which puts you at risk of suffering from hypertension -- a serious disease affecting 75 million Americans.
If you are already suffering from hypertension or diabetes, it's especially important for you to stop drinking as alcohol can worsen these problems.
Most people know that cigarettes cause cancer, but many fail to realize that alcohol causes many types of cancer as well.
Believe it or not, alcohol increases your odds of developing liver cancer, throat cancer, esophagus cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. These devastating diseases are another harsh reminder of why it's so vital to quit drinking for life.
After consuming even a moderate amount of alcohol, it becomes obvious that the toxic substance has strong effects on mental function. These are often temporary in nature; however, chronic alcohol consumption has been shown to cause brain shrinkage and nutrient deficiencies. These changes increase a person's odds of suffering from dementia.
From liver health to mental health, alcohol takes far more than it gives -- which is why it's best to not consume alcohol at all. If you're having difficulty abstaining from alcohol, know that there is help provided by professionals, like Ascent Behavioral Health Services, who have experience treating alcoholism and restoring sobriety.