The medical consequences of alcohol abuse are numerous and severe. While not every person that abuses alcohol will experience every possible alcoholism health risk, most people that drink regularly and heavily will experience some medical consequences of alcohol abuse.
According to Alcohol Policy MD, an organization for health care professionals working to change both clinical practice and social policy in order to prevent and treat alcohol abuse, as much as 40% of all patients in general hospital beds (which excludes patients in maternity, psychiatric, intensive care, and other specialty units) are being treated for health problems related to alcohol use or abuse. Health care costs related to alcohol use and abuse total about 22.5 billion dollars annually in the U.S. That number doesn’t include costs related to legal problems, lost time at work, property damage, and other problems that occur due to alcohol abuse, either.
Alcohol affects every organ in the body, so the medical problems that can result from alcohol abuse are quite numerous. Possible medical consequences of alcohol abuse include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your personal alcoholism health risk is greater than average if you are:
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether or not it’s safe for you to drink or what the specific risks are you face if you do drink. People often hesitate to talk to their doctors about drinking, assuming doctors will just tell all patients not to drink or fearing that their doctors will scold them for drinking. The truth is, though, doctors know some people drink and some doctors even drink themselves. Part of a doctor’s job is to educate and advise patients, but your doctor can’t advise you properly if you aren’t honest about your drinking habits. Most doctors are professional and respectful of patients, but if yours scolds you or talks down to you when you talk about drinking, find another doctor. It’s important to feel comfortable talking to your doctor about difficult topics.