What Health Problems Can Alcohol Lead to?

Moderate alcohol use (taking one drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men) is less likely to hurt your health. It is heavy drinking (taking 4 drinks a day or more a day for men and 3 drinks or more a day for women) that is likely to cause health problems. Heavy drinking can lead to liver damage, heart disease, and digestive problems.

What Are the Symptoms of These Issues?

Liver Damage

Tell-tale signs of liver damage include dark urine, extreme tiredness, abdominal pain, nausea, jaundice and swollen legs and ankles.

Heart Disease

Symptoms of heart disease include neck pain, tiredness, numb or painful legs or arms, shortness of breath, persistent cough and an abnormal heart rhythm.

Digestive Problems

If you have an unhealthy digestive system, you might experience bloating, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, bleeding and heartburn.

Why Does Alcohol Have This Effect?

Liver Damage

Drinking large amounts of alcohol too fast can damage your liver cells. Over time, this can lead to liver cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.

Heart Disease

Heavy alcohol use causes platelet activation, which leads to blood clots. Blood clots narrow or block arteries, causing a spike in your blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high, the chances of heart disease and stroke increase.

Digestive Problems

Alcohol can cause inflammation of the stomach lining. The result? Heartburn and nausea. Alcohol can also lead to increased pancreatic enzymes. This increases the the risk of pancreatitis.

Anastasia Filipenko

Anastasia Filipenko is a health and wellness psychologist, dermatolist and a freelance writer. She frequently covers beauty and skincare, food trends and nutrition, health and fitness and relationships. When she's not trying out new skincare products, you'll find her taking a cycling class, doing yoga, reading in the park, or trying a new recipe.

Mental health expert
MS, University of Latvia

I am deeply convinced that each patient needs a unique, individual approach. Therefore, I use different psychotherapy methods in my work. During my studies, I discovered an in-depth interest in people as a whole and the belief in the inseparability of mind and body, and the importance of emotional health in physical health. In my spare time, I enjoy reading (a big fan of thrillers) and going on hikes.

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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