Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Learn about the health risks of chronic, heavy drinking in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.

Transcript

People often want to know what are the health risks of chronic heavy drinking. There can be several different kinds of health risks that people can experience.

One of them can be hypertension where people's blood pressure becomes chronically high requiring medical intervention. People also can experience changes in their esophagus and in their stomach. It can cause people to have esophageal reflux disease which over time can cause scarring of the esophagus and cause what's called esophageal varices which can result in bleeding in the esophagus. And also people can develop ulcers from their alcohol use.

The more serious forms of alcohol related health issues can be damage to both the kidneys and the pancreas and the liver. Those over time can result in kidney failure. They can result in pancreatic disease, including diabetes, and in a milder form, pancreatitis, which can cause severe pain for people resulting in hospitalization and the need for medical intervention. And then it can also cause liver disease. There's three types of liver disease. The mildest form is fatty liver disease. The more serious form is alcohol related hepatitis, and the most serious form is liver cirrhosis which can result eventually in liver failure. So those are some health risks, ranging from mild to severe that can result from chronic heavy drinking.

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