When there is excessive alcohol consumption, the body reacts with some immediate minor consequences such as loss of coordination to walk, memory failure or slower speech, for example.
However, prolonged consumption of this type of alcoholic beverages can affect practically all the organs of the body in a more serious way, which can result in gastritis, liver changes, infertility and dementia, for example.
The most common diseases caused by alcohol are:
Frequent and/or excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause irritation of the gastric mucosa, leading to inflammation of the stomach wall, which characterizes gastritis, in which there may be loss of appetite, heartburn, nausea and vomiting.
How to treat: the treatment for gastritis should be done under the guidance of the gastroenterologist, who should indicate the use of medication to protect the stomach mucosa and relieve symptoms, in addition to it is important to avoid alcohol consumption and to have a light diet guided by the nutritionist. See more details about gastritis treatment.
2. Liver changes
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause inflammation of the liver, known as hepatitis, which causes symptoms such as yellow eyes and skin and swollen abdomen.
When repeated episodes of hepatitis occur, it is possible to progress to liver cirrhosis, which happens when liver cells are destroyed, interfering with the functioning of the liver and can lead to the death of the person if not identified and treated correctly.
How to treat: the treatment for liver problems should be done under the guidance of the hepatologist according to the type of alteration, and the use of corticosteroid drugs may be recommended, since has anti-inflammatory action, and hepatoprotective drugs.In addition, it is recommended that alcohol consumption be suspended and that the person has a he althy diet, low in processed foods and fats.
In more severe cases, when there is a change in liver function that can interfere with the person's quality of life, a liver transplant may be recommended. Know when liver transplantation is indicated.
3. Impotence or infertility
Excessive alcohol can damage the body's nerves, which can cause impotence in humans. In women, the menstrual period can become irregular, which can cause infertility.
How to treat: in these cases, you should avoid alcohol consumption and consult the urologist or gynecologist for physical and fertility exams so that it can be started the most appropriate treatment.
4. Infarction and thrombosis
Consumption of alcoholic beverages in excess over a long period of time can cause cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or thrombosis.Generally, these diseases occur due to high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, where there is excess fat accumulated in the arteries and which prevents normal blood circulation.
How to treat: the doctor should prescribe the use of heart medication and drugs to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, such as Simvastatin. In addition, it is also important to have a low-fat diet.
Alcohol consumption has always been a risk factor for cancer, but new studies are confirming the direct link between alcohol consumption and the emergence of up to 7 types of cancer, which include the pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.
How to treat: if it arises, the cancer should be treated by an oncologist, who evaluates all personal factors and type of cancer, deciding the best form of treatment, which includes chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, for example.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages repeatedly and in large amounts can cause pellagra, which is due to a lack of vitamin B3 (niacin), since alcohol can interfere with the absorption of this vitamin, causing symptoms such as brownish skin on different parts of the body, such as the face and hands, and which usually causes frequent itching and constant diarrhea. Learn how to identify pellagra.
How to treat: It is recommended to consult a dermatologist for an evaluation of the symptoms presented and, thus, to initiate the most appropriate treatment, which normally involves a diet rich in vitamin B3 or use of supplementation as directed by a nutritionist.
Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can compromise the functioning of nerve cells in the brain, interfering with cognitive and behavioral functions, resulting in dementia, which can be characterized by memory loss, difficulty speaking and moving.
How to treat: it is necessary for the patient to be accompanied by a psychiatrist, who can prescribe medication to delay dementia such as Memantine.
8. Alcoholic anorexia
When alcoholic beverages are ingested instead of food to avoid calorie intake and lose weight, this can be the first sign of alcoholic anorexia. This is an eating disorder, which can easily lead to the emergence of anorexia from bulimia, with the difference that in this case alcoholic beverages are used to reduce hunger.
How to treat: therapy is recommended to end addiction to alcoholic beverages and to improve behavior in relation to food and body acceptance. Treatment should be done with a psychiatrist who helps treat the disorder and with a nutritionist who helps resume eating and treats nutritional deficiencies.
Watch the conversation between nutritionist Tatiana Zanin and Dr. Drauzio Varella, on the harmful effects of alcohol, in the following video:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not advised in patients with diseases such as fatty liver, gallstones or irritable bowel syndrome, for example, however, no individual should consume alcohol regularly because the consequences eventually arise and harm he alth.
So, although it is difficult, family members and the person who frequently drinks alcohol should be able to identify the signs that indicate that drinking is a problem and seek help from an alcoholic support institution to start the treatment and avoid these problems.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Institute and the Private Clinics for Chemical Dependents have a very important role to play in the follow-up and recovery of alcoholic patients and are prepared to treat and help the individual to rebuild his life away from alcohol addiction, thus reducing the damage that alcoholism can bring to the alcoholic.