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Long-term alcohol abuse

Long-term alcohol abuse has harmful effects on many of the organ systems of the body (Tenth, 2000; Perkins, 1992). The organ systems most affected by alcohol are the liver, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, and the skeletal system, but other systems are also affected. Alcohol works in three ways to cause damage to the body: by reducing food intake, alcohol consumption leads to poor nutrition; toxic breakdown products of alcohol in the body can damage cells and tissues; and the constant presence of alcohol in the body can result in dangerous changes to the bodyƆs chemistry (Perkins, 1992, 21).

Alcohol contains no nutritional ingredients, and so long-term alcohol intake, and its concomitant lowered food intake lead to starvation (Perkins, 1992, 22). Alcohol interferes with the way the body uses vitamins and minerals, and chronic alcohol abuse leads to chronic malnutrition. Alcohol abusers suffer from a deficiency in folic acid, which is needed for protein synthesis and cell development, and a deficiency of which can cause a type of anemia; zinc deficiency, which results in a failure to grow, delayed healing, hair loss, skin changes, a decreased sense of taste, and mental disturbances; and thiamine deficiency, which can lead to Beriberi, which affects the nervous and cardiovascular systems. However, a study by Wannamethee and Shaper (2003) showed that heavy drinking contributed significantly to weight gain and obesity in middle-aged men, irrespective of the type of alcohol consumed, compared to light-to-moderate drinkers, adjusting for all other factors.

Chronic alcohol use irritates the lining of the digestive tract (Perkins, 1992, 22). The membranes of the mouth and throat are irritated, leaving the alcohol abuser susceptible to mouth and throat cancer, especially since people who use alcohol also usually smoke. The stomach lining becomes inflamed, leading to gastritis, and the production of excess stom...

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Long-term alcohol abuse. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:11, August 06, 2020, from