It's no secret among most people that high levels of alcohol consumption can be harmful to your health and safety. However, many people may not be aware of the extent, or the number of potential dangers of excessive drinking.
Dr. Marina Katz suggests that researches have alcohol consumption can be linked to more then 60 health problems. The more heavily you drink, the more likely it is that any of these problems could develop.
So binge drinking, or consuming alcohol at a rate that increases your blood alcohol concentration level to above 0.08 (which is usually caused by drinking more then 4-5 drinks in two hours) is significantly more risky then drinking in moderation. Here are just a few of the potential health risks that such extreme drinking can bring about.
Consuming alcohol at such high levels can severely reduce your fine motor skills and basic coordination, while at the same time lowering inhibitions that prevent you from engaging in risky behavior. Thus, you are both more likely to engage in behavior that may be more risky then normal.
The simple fact you are consuming ethyl alcohol at higher levels then the body can be extremely dangerous, and lead to difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeats, low body temperature, and a surprised gag reflect that can bring on a coma and death.
As the main organ responsible for removing the toxic elements of alcohol, drinking heavily causes the liver to get overworked and can cause it to stop functioning. The liver may develop fatty tissue, which makes it likely to inflate and cease functioning efficiently.
Over a longer period of heavy drinking, this inflation can lead to fibrous tissue developing in the liver, which can cause cirrhosis, damage the tissue permanently and lead to scarring that, in at chronic levels, can cause the liver to cease functioning completely, which can make dangerous impurities collect in the blood stream unchecked.
Drinking can also put a lot of stress on the heart and raising blood pressure, and weakening the heart tissue. This can result in irregular heartbeats, or make the heart beat too quickly.
It weakens the heart so it cannot contract as easily, decreasing the amount of blood being pumped through the body. Bing drinking makes strokes and heart attacks are more likely.
Neurological dysfunction and brain damage
Over the long term, drinking heavily can weaken memory, reasoning, planning, and visuo-spatial skills. Mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia may be triggered or exacerbated.
Alcohol can also lead to a deficiency vitamin B-1, which can decrease the nervous system's ability to function.
Danger to the pancreas, stomach and kidneys
While a healthy pancreas sends enzymes to the small intestine to digest food, a pancreas affected by binge drinking can secrete its digestive juices internally, which can, over time, damage the ability of the pancreas to digest food, leading to abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Alcohol can also interfere with your stomach's natural justices, making it difficult to absorb vital vitamins and minerals, and damage the lining of the stomach, leading to stomach irritation and severe bleeding.
Alcohol can also disrupt the kidney's efforts to regulate body fluids and the electrolyte levels. Alcohol can augment urine flow and raise the concentration of electrolytes in the blood, resulting in dehydration.
Risk of cancer
Research suggests that heavy drinkers are more susceptible to cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, colon, rectum and breast.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Pregnant women need to be especially wary of any alcohol consumption, since her drinking will be passed along to her baby through the umbilical chord. Children of women who drank heavily during pregnancy may be severally underdeveloped over their lifetime, and suffer from learning disabilities, smaller size, and heart problems.
Although there is some debate about whether or not even small amounts of alcohol can cause damage during pregnancy, the general consensus is that women who are pregnant, or think they might be, should avoid alcohol altogether.
Avoid binge drinking
For these reasons, among others, it is vitally important to avoid binge drinking. If you do choose to consume alcohol at all, be careful to pace yourself, set a normal level of moderation (usually around 2 drinks a day for women, and 3 for men, but you should consult a health care provider for what is a recommended tolerance level for you) that will not go above, and stop drinking before you feel the effects of getting drunk.