Heavy alcohol consumption can knock as many as 8 years off a person's lifespan and lead to several kinds of serious illnesses.
Long term studies on patients with alcohol dependency reveal that death rates were higher among the group than members of the general population. Women with alcoholism particularly are at a higher risk of a shortened lifespan.
There is a lot that researchers don't understand about the phenomena, including why women are affected more by alcoholism, how the lifespans of people in recovery are affected, and if specialized treatment could reverse the damage done by alcoholism.
One study done in Germany with adults aged 18 to 64 revealed that the death rate was about 5 times higher for females with alcoholism and about 2 times higher for males with alcoholism. Researchers also discovered that average age of death for those with alcoholism was 60 for females and 58 for males, about 20 years lower than the national average. They also discovered that completing some form of alcohol treatment did not raise the life expectancy.
Researchers are hoping to focus on women with alcoholism in their next round of studies. They already know that a stronger sensitivity to toxins among women is likely to be the reason why their lifespans are shorter.
Researchers also know that the effects of alcoholism on health arise much faster in women than they do with men. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done on how alcoholism affects women's health and well being.
How alcoholism can lead to serious illnesses.
The effects of heavy and consistent drinking are severe and widespread. From the central nervous system, to the brain, liver, and heart, the risk of developing a serious illness in these areas greatly increases. Alcoholism also puts a person at a greater risk of engaging in risky behavior that puts their lives and others' lives in danger. Here is a quick overview of some of the illnesses related to alcoholism.
Liver disease: heavy drinking can lead to hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. Cirrhosis, the scarring of liver tissue, is also possible with years of heavy drinking.
Digestive problems: Gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, is often caused by heavy drinking. Ulcers in the stomach and esophagus are also possible. Heavy drinking also contributes to pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas.
Heart problems: high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, stroke, and even heart failure have all been linked to heavy alcohol consumption.
Bone loss: alcohol has a destructive effect on the production of new bones. Thinning bones, or osteoporosis, as well as an increased risk of fractures is very likely.
Neurological issues: heavy drinking has a profound effect on the nervous system. Numbness and pain in the body, memory loss, and impaired cognitive function have all been traced to alcoholism.
Weakened immunity: high alcohol consumption has an effect on the body's ability to fight off diseases, making it harder for the body to stave off infections and illnesses.
Higher risk of cancer: long term alcoholism has been linked to a higher risk of cancer. Mouth, throat, liver, colon, and breast cancer have all been shown to be linked to drinking. Even moderate drinking has been proven to increase the risk of breast cancer in women.
In addition to increasing the chances of developing one of these illnesses, alcoholism increases the risk of being involved in a accident, injury, or even a death. Alcohol related automobile accidents are a major cause of death in the United States. Other injuries, sexual abuse, and assault are also much more common among people who have a drinking habit.