Some of the more common physical risks associated with risky or hazardous alcohol use include: domestic abuse, fighting, drink driving, unsafe sex, hypothermia, and accidents, including fires.
Other risks not so well known include:
Dehydration and lack of proper sleep, often as a result of regular or excessive alcohol use, wrecks skin and hair. It also expands blood vessels which, at extremities of the body (fingers, toes, earlobes, etc), often enlarge, causing the skin to become red and dead. Big red nose is an example of this.
Alcohol robs your body of vital vitamins, especially vitamin B complex, which can cause skin damage. This can also cause diarrhoea and also lead to depression.
Expanding blood vessels also gives us a false feeling of warmth which in winter disappears so quickly it can often result in hypothermia.
Fertility and pregnancy
Alcohol lowers sperm count in men and fertility in women. If you’re pregnant or trying for a baby both of you should avoid alcohol completely.
Drinking alcohol is the second largest risk factor for cancer of the mouth and throat after smoking. Around three thousand (3000) cases of bowel cancer per year in the UK are directly attributable to alcohol use.
Drinking too much alcohol could increase your risk of developing breast cancer in both men and women. Some research shows that alcohol can be directly attributable to ten per-cent (10%) of all cancers.
Alcohol turns some liver cells into fat and damages others. Because the liver has no ‘feeling’ in it, people often don not realise it is in pain until it is too late. Repeated heavy drinking causes the liver to scar and leads to permanent damage, which, in extreme cases, can be fatal. For women liver disease can progress a lot quicker than for a man.
A person drinking more than the recommended weekly guidelines, or sensible limits, is twice as likely to die of a stroke compared to non-drinkers. There is also some evidence suggestion if we drink alcohol within sensible limits it could reduce our chances of stroke.
Drinking to excess is linked with a rise in blood pressure. Raised blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and strokes.
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Many of the risks associated with risky alcohol use are well known.