3 Long Term Negative Health Effects Of Binge Drinking

2012-12-28 | |
Last updated: 2012-12-28

What Are The Health Effects Of Binge Drinking?

Even though many people who binge drink will argue that they do not have a problem with alcohol, it really depends how one defines a problem. Binge drinking is often underestimated as a health issue because most binge drinkers do not develop the psychological problems associated with regular consumption of excess alcohol. However, the science speaks for itself and indicates that binge drinking has measurable effects on our health.

The Link Between Binge Drinking, Heart Disease And Strokes

One of the ways in which binge drinking hurts our health is with respect to the heart and circulatory system.

Researchers from Toulouse University studied the health effects of the different drinking cultures in Ireland and in France. Their study of almost 10,000 men, aged 50 to 59, found that men in France drank about 50% more alcohol per week than those in Ireland, but the frequency of binge drinking in Ireland was 20 times as often. The consequences on health for these men was that those in Ireland who were binge drinking were twice as likely to experience a heart attack.

While the health benefits of wine account for some of the difference in heart attack risk, the researchers found that binge drinking was a significant contributor to heart attack risk.

In another study, scientists from Yonsei University determined that the risks are even higher for men who already have high blood pressure. Their study determined that men with high blood pressure or hypertension who binge drink had a minimum of 3 times the risk of dying from a heart attack compared to men with hypertension who drank more moderately. Clearly, binge drinking poses health risks to the heart.

Part of the reason that binge drinking has such an effect on the heart and circulatory system comes from the underlying changes that high alcohol concentrations can cause. Researchers from the University of Rochester who created an experiment with mice found that the mice fed alcohol in a binge drinking pattern had problems with cholesterol.
The mice had high levels of the bad cholesterol and increased production of the artery-clogging plaques associated with Atherosclerosis.

Binge Drinking And Its Effects On The Immune System

If it were limited just to its effects on the heart, binge drinking could be considered hard on the body. However, such excess alcohol consumption also has other negative health effects, like the effects on the immune system. Physicians from Loyola University Medical Center studying burn victims found that those who were binge drinkers were much more likely to experience complications such as infections and sepsis or blood poisoning when recovering from their burns. The physicians believe that this is because alcohol reduces the effectiveness of the immune system.

Other research from Mississippi State University has confirmed the theory that alcohol undermines the immune system. The study, involving mice, found that the production of the communication chemicals that tell the immune system to act was stopped when alcohol was present. Even 24 hours after a binge drinking session, the immune system was still not able to respond properly to infections.

This means that binge drinking is especially problematic for people who are already ill or facing certain types of chronic illness that affects the immune system.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks, Medical Research

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