Long-term Effects Of Alcohol
The long term effects of alcohol range from possible health benefits for low levels of alcohol (ethanol) consumption to severe detrimental effects in cases of chronic alcohol abuse. There is a strong correlation between 'high levels' of alcohol consumption and an increased risk of developing alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, malabsorption, chronic pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system can occur from chronic alcohol abuse. Long-term use of alcohol in excessive quantities is capable of damaging nearly every organ and system in the body. The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol, as is the developing brain of the unborn, possibly resulting in the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Historically doctors have promoted alcohol for its perceived health benefits and most recently for protection against coronary heart disease. This is known as the French paradox. There is evidence of cardiovascular benefits from drinking 1–2 drinks per day; however, the health benefits from moderate intake of alcohol are controversial. Alcohol should be regarded as a recreational drug with potentially serious adverse effects on health and it is not recommended for cardio-protection in the place of safer and proven traditional methods such as exercise and proper nutrition.
Some experts argue that the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may be outweighed by other increased risks, including those of injuries, violence, fetal damage, certain forms of cancer, liver disease and hypertension. As the apparent health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are limited for populations at low risk of heart disease, other experts urge caution because of the possibility that recommending moderate alcohol consumption may lead to an increased risk of alcohol abuse.
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