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Dangerous Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day, According to Science

Drinking wine, spirits, or beer in moderation is usually fine, but overdoing it can cause major health issues.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan
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Having a drink at the end of a long day or to celebrate an occasion is a joy for many. However, it becomes an issue when one drink casually turns into two, three, or maybe even four—and on a regular basis.

According to the CDC, moderate alcohol consumption for women is defined as having up to one drink per day. For men, it's up to two drinks. Keep in mind, though, this isn't intended as an average over several days. Those who drink 8-15 drinks per week (or more) are considered heavy drinkers, and this lifestyle can lead to many serious health problems.

Below, you'll see just five dangerous side effects drinking alcohol in excess and regularly can pose on your health. And for more important health news, make sure you read about The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.

After drinking alcohol every day, you may…

1

Develop heart disease

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Those who drink chronically are more likely to have heart-related issues than those who don't drink. Women who drink regularly are even at higher risk of developing heart disease than men.

According to an article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, excessive alcohol intake can lead to myriad poor health outcomes, which include heart conditions such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and even stroke.

In addition, drinking alcohol regularly can cause you to pack on extra pounds—which also can negatively impact heart health. In the same article, Johns Hopkins cardiologist John William McEvoy, M.B.B.Ch., M.H.S. said, "Alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can be harmful in the long term."

For more tips on how to keep your ticker in top shape, be sure to check out These Are the Two Best Diets For Heart Health, According to Doctors.

2

Be at risk of infertility

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It's common knowledge that women who are pregnant should not drink as it could heighten the risk of premature delivery, miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD), or stillbirth. However, what many may not know is that women who drink too much may have issues getting pregnant.

One study, which observed 6,120 females aged 21-45, found that those who drank at least 14 alcoholic beverages a week (which is about two drinks each day) were 18% less likely to conceive than those who drank less or didn't drink at all.

Related: What Your Diet Should Look Like If You Have Gestational Diabetes, According to an RD.

3

Develop osteoporosis

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An analysis of six studies published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence unveiled a strong association between alcohol consumption and osteoporosis—a bone disease that occurs when either the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or a combination of the two. Essentially, the more alcohol you drink regularly, the higher risk you have of developing the bone disease.

More specifically, those who consumed two drinks or more each day were 1.63 times more likely to develop osteoporosis. This is because heavy drinking can inhibit the absorption of nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, that are critical for bone health.

"We know that alcohol abuse has detrimental effects on bone health," Russell T. Turner, PhD, a researcher at the Skeletal Biology Laboratory at Oregon State University told CreakyJoints. "What we don't know is how much of the effect is alcohol directly on bone versus the other comorbidities that occur with alcohol abusers."

For example, pancreatitis, diabetes, and liver disease can play a role in osteoporosis, all of which are negative health outcomes that are linked to drinking excessively.

4

Start having slurred speech all the time

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According to the American Addiction Centers, people who drink excessively are at risk of developing dysarthria, which is the medical term for difficulty saying words. This change in speech can be caused by several conditions, such as brain injury, brain tumor, and stroke… just to name a few. However, heavy drinking over time can cause damage to the brain and make dysarthria permanent.

5

Experience liver damage

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Perhaps one of the most known effects of drinking in excess is damage to the liver. The liver is responsible for breaking down and removing harmful substances and toxins from your body. However, regularly drinking alcohol (and a lot of it) can disrupt this all-important process, and it can also increase your risk of chronic liver inflammation and liver disease.

Liver disease can lead to toxins and waste building up in your body, which can be life-threatening.

Bottom line, you can drink alcohol if you want, just do so in moderation so you can dodge poor health outcomes. For more, be sure to read What Happens To Your Body When You Give Up Alcohol.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more