The long-term effects of alcohol are yet fully understood. Although regular light-to-moderate intake has been shown to have positive effects on health, frequent heavy drinking can increase the risk of developing alcoholism, liver disease, and some forms of cancer.
Research in various countries has found the all-cause mortality rates range from 16 to 28 percent lower among moderate drinkers than abstainers.
The cardiovascular effects of consistent, moderate drinking are perhaps the most studied and the most widely-accepted. The world Health Organization Technical Committee on Cardiovascular Disease asserted that the relationship between moderate consumption and reduced death from heart disease could no longer be doubted.
If you are a nondrinker, however, you should not start drinking solely to benefit your heart. You can guard against heart disease by exercising and eating foods that are low-fat. And if pregnant, planning to become pregnant, have been diagnosed as alcoholic, or have another medical condition that could make drinking harmful, you should not drink
If you can safely drink and you chose to drink, do so in moderation as heavy consumption can actually increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as cause many other medical problems and diseases, such as alcoholism and liver cirrhosis, which can be chronic.
Meaning that it last a person's lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms:
The risk for developing the alcoholism is influenced both by a person's genes and his or her lifestyle. The cravings an alcoholic feels can be as strong as the need for food or water and he or she will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems.
For most adults, moderate use-up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people-cause few if any problems. (One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)
Certain people should not drink at all, however:
The effects of drinking do vary with age and sex, such as:
The presence of any of the following indicators suggest that an individual may have a serious drinking problem or be at risk for developing one and may need help:
Moderate drinking does seem to have some health benefits, whereas abuse can be devastating to both the person and family. Stay on the healthy side of drinking and avoid falling over the fence into the abuse side. Alcoholism cannot be cured at this time but can be treated through different counseling programs and medications.
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