Are you planning a dry July? While the Dry July Foundation raises funds for cancer support organisations, it's also great to have some time away from alcohol and to remind ourselves of some of the risks involved with long term drinking.
Prolonged heavy drinking can affect:
Brain – Long-term drinking can result in permanent brain damage, mental health problems and alcohol dependence
Cancers – Drinking alcohol is a risk factor for cancers of the mouth and throat, and liver
Heart and circulation – Alcohol can cause high blood pressure, and arrhythmia
Liver – Continued, excessive drinking can permanently damage the liver, resulting in liver cirrhosis and cancer. Alcoholic hepatitis can result in liver failure
Stomach – Drinking to excess can lead to stomach ulcers, internal bleeding and gastritis.
Pancreas – Prolonged use of alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas
Intestine – Drinking alcohol affects your body's ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins
Fertility – Heavy drinking can lead to infertility in men and women, and impotence in men
Bones – Alcohol inhibits your body's ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to low bone density
Weight gain – gram for gram, alcohol contains almost as many kilojoules as fat (29.3kj/g alcohol vs 37.7kj/g fat). This adds up very quickly, with the average kilojoules in a can of beer around 580kj, and approximately 520kj per 150ml glass of wine.
So take the time to consider how much you might be drinking. Current Australian guidelines recommend drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the risk of alcohol related harm over a lifetime.