While moderate drinking may not be harmful to everyone, long-term effects of alcohol can be serious.
While some of these effects may be well-known, others may come as a surprise.
In this blog, we will be exploring 18 shocking long-term effects of alcohol on your body.
What happens to alcohol in your body?
Once you drink alcohol, it quickly enters your bloodstream from your stomach and small intestine.
You’ll begin feeling the effects in about 5-10 minutes. They’ll be strongest between 30-90 minutes after drinking.
Your liver plays a big role in breaking down alcohol. It turns about 90% of the alcohol into water and carbon dioxide.
The remaining alcohol leaves your body through your lungs, kidneys (as urine), and skin (through sweat).
Long-term effects of alcohol
Get ready as we explore the long-term effects of alcohol on your body!
We’ll dive into the not-so-fun side of excessive drinking, from liver damage to love life woes, and even to the sneaky effects on your skin.
1. Liver Disease
We get it – a few drinks can make you feel on top of the world.
But remember, too much alcohol can harm your liver in the long run.
Your liver works extra hard when you drink a lot. This can lead to inflammation and cell damage.
Fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis are all potential consequences.
Let’s face it, a liver that looks like greasy samosas isn’t appealing.
So, cheers to drinking responsibly!
2. Heart Disease
Overdoing alcohol can make your heart a real hot mess!
Excessive drinking affects heart health and can lead to serious issues down the road.
Simply put, too much alcohol weakens your heart muscle, making blood pumping difficult and potentially causing heart failure.
Plus, heavy drinking raises blood pressure and may cause irregular heartbeats.
This may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So, let’s keep our hearts happy with moderation!
In India, excessive alcohol consumption is a growing concern.
It affects not just the liver but also increases pancreatitis risk.
Your pancreas is essential for digestion, but over-drinking can cause chronic inflammation & pancreatitis.
This leads to ongoing belly woes like pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Let’s protect our pancreases by drinking responsibly!
4. Kidney Disease
Heavy alcohol consumption is a top cause of kidney disease in India. You read that right!
Chronic kidney disease affects a whopping 17% of India’s population, according to the Indian Society of Nephrology.
Your kidneys tirelessly filter waste and excess fluid from your blood.
However, too much alcohol forces your kidneys to work extra hard to eliminate toxins.
Over time, this can seriously damage your kidneys, making them less efficient.
Excessive alcohol intake harms your kidneys and may lead to kidney disease.
Plus, alcohol causes dehydration, adding extra strain on your kidneys as they remove waste and toxins.
Drink responsibly to keep your kidneys healthy!
When you drink, your body focuses on breaking down alcohol instead of burning fat.
That means those delicious bar snacks and late-night treats may end up as unwanted love handles.
But there’s more to it! Alcohol can also increase your appetite and weaken your self-control.
This leads you to indulge in high-calorie and high-fat foods.
These chain of events can result in weight gain and even contribute to obesity.
To maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, it’s essential to monitor your alcohol consumption.
Be mindful of how much you drink, and both your waistline and self-esteem will thank you!
6. Sexual Dysfunction
It’s no secret that alcohol can lower inhibitions, leading to relaxation and confidence.
However, excessive drinking might also result in sexual dysfunction.
That’s right, alcohol can negatively impact your sex life too.
For men, alcohol interferes with testosterone production, which is vital for a healthy libido and erectile function.
This can lead to erectile dysfunction and reduced sperm production.
For women, alcohol disrupts hormonal balance, causing irregular menstrual cycles and decreased sexual desire.
To maintain a healthy and vibrant love life, it’s essential to drink in moderation and avoid going overboard with alcohol.
7. Malnutrition & Vitamin Deficiency
Alcohol consumption can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, impacting your overall health.
When you drink, alcohol hinders your body’s ability to absorb essential minerals and nutrients like vitamins B12 and D, calcium, and magnesium.
These nutrients are crucial for maintaining energy levels, immune system function, and general well-being.
Over time, these deficiencies can cause various health problems such as weakness, fatigue & muscle cramps.
Malnutrition also weakens your immune system, increasing your susceptibility to infections and illnesses.
So, for heavy drinkers, it’s vital to ensure you get enough nutrients through a balanced diet or supplements to avoid these negative health effects of alcohol.
8. High Blood Pressure
Drinking excessively can cause your blood vessels to constrict and your heart rate to increase, leading to a rise in blood pressure.
Over time, this can damage your arteries and make it more difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently.
Indeed, research has shown that heavy drinking can raise your risk of high blood pressure by as much as 50%.
9. Digestive Problems
It’s true, indulging in greasy food and alcohol can be enticing, but it can also cause some serious stomach issues.
Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach and intestines, leading to unpleasant symptoms like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
Moreover, it makes it difficult for your body to absorb vital nutrients, leaving you feeling tired and rundown.
Alcohol also disrupts the normal digestive process, causing your body to produce excess acid, which can result in heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.
To avoid these uncomfortable digestive problems, it’s wise to limit your alcohol intake and steer clear of binge drinking.
10. Worsened Sleep Quality
11. Weakened Immune System
Did you know that your go-to happy hour drink might be harming your immune system?
Alcohol weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful invaders, making you more susceptible to infections like colds and the flu.
Drinking alcohol can damage immune cells and decrease the production of certain antibodies needed to fend off infections.
Moreover, it causes inflammation in the body, which can lead to chronic diseases over time.
So the next time you consider ordering another round of shots, think twice about the impact it could have on your body’s defense system.
12. Neurological Damage
Alcohol can disrupt your brain’s normal communication, causing lasting damage to your nervous system.
It may even shrink specific regions of your brain, resulting in difficulties with memory and coordination.
These effects can lead to mood changes, clumsiness, and slowed cognitive abilities.
If you’re a heavy drinker, you might struggle to remember important details or even basic daily tasks.
And let’s not forget about the infamous “drunk texting” or other embarrassing moments that can happen when you’ve had one too many drinks.
13. Mental Health Problems
In India, alcohol is often seen as a social lubricant and a way to unwind.
Studies have shown that long-term heavy drinking can lead to a wide range of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
In addition, alcohol abuse can also cause memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.
This can have a significant impact on your daily life.
Not to forget, if you’re already dealing with mental health issues, alcohol can worsen your symptoms and make it harder for you to manage them.
14. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy poses serious health risks for both the mother and the developing baby.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) affects babies exposed to alcohol in the womb and can lead to lifelong physical and mental problems.
FAS can result in various birth defects, including facial abnormalities, growth issues, and learning difficulties. Additionally, it can cause behavioral and emotional problems later in life.
15. Alcohol Addiction
Did you know excessive drinking can alter your brain function, making it harder to control alcohol intake?
Alcohol addiction affects both body and mind. It tricks your brain into craving alcohol, even when you know it’s harmful.
Over time, your body may need increasing amounts of alcohol to feel the same effects, leading to a vicious cycle of addiction that’s tough to break.
Alcohol addiction can impact your relationships, work, and overall well-being. It’s crucial to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with this issue.
Despite high alcohol consumption rates in India, alcoholism remains stigmatized in many areas, making it challenging for those struggling with addiction to find help.
16. Risk of Diabetes
All those shots and cocktails can seriously disrupt your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Imagine pouring syrup into a car’s gas tank – it won’t run smoothly!
Excessive alcohol can harm your pancreas, responsible for producing insulin – the hormone that manages blood sugar levels.
Over time, this damage may lead to insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, alcohol can contribute to weight gain, further raising your chances of developing diabetes.
17. Weakened Muscles
When you consume large amounts of alcohol, your muscles can become more susceptible to injury and may not function as effectively.
In the long run, alcohol can harm your muscle fibers, making regeneration and growth difficult.
This can result in reduced muscle strength and increased risk of falls and injuries.
Additionally, alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to absorb crucial nutrients for muscle health, like protein, vitamins, and minerals.
18. Skin Disorders
Who doesn’t want to stay looking young and vibrant?
But, excessive alcohol consumption can damage your skin and lead to various skin issues.
Over time, heavy drinking can cause premature skin aging, making you appear older than you are.
Alcohol dehydrates your body, which can result in dry, flaky, and itchy skin.
It can also cause inflammation, worsening conditions like rosacea and psoriasis.
Additionally, alcohol dilates blood vessels in your skin, creating a red and blotchy appearance.
So, to maintain healthy and youthful skin, it’s crucial to limit your alcohol intake and stay hydrated.
Short-term effects of alcohol
Keep in mind that these short-term effects can vary depending on the amount consumed and individual tolerance levels.
- Feelings of relaxation or drowsiness
- Elevated mood or excitement
- Mood changes
- Feeling more open and less self-conscious
- Impulsive behavior
- Difficulty pronouncing words and speaking clearly
- Nausea and vomiting
- Throbbing or persistent headaches
- Changes in hearing, vision, and perception
- Clumsiness, trouble walking or moving smoothly
- Difficulty staying on task
- Loss of consciousness or memory gaps (blackouts)
- Alcohol abuse can cause long-term damage to the liver, heart, & nervous system.
- It affects sleep quality, weakens the immune system, and can harm mental health.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to addiction, negatively impact relationships & cause skin disorders.
- Practicing moderation in alcohol consumption is crucial for maintaining good health.