Liver damage caused by alcohol: Liver is the main organ involved in detoxification of alcohol. As soon as the alcohol is consumed, liver starts working to break it down. Ethanol is first converted in acetaldehyde which is further broken down into water and carbon dioxide. The liver is only capable of processing certain amounts of alcohol at a given time. Usually 10g of alcohol is processed per hour with the remaining amount still existing in the blood. Measuring blood concentration of alcohol is a common way to determine intoxication levels of a person.
Long term heavy use of alcohol can cause permanent damage to the liver. As the liver has to process high amounts of alcohol, its cells becomes swollen with alcohol and the resulted condition is referred to as alcoholic hepatitis or alcoholic steatoheaptitis. The condition can further progress to liver fibrosis which is formation of scar tissues within liver. As the scar tissues take over the whole organ, the condition is termed as liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis may progress into liver cancer, liver failure and eventually death. Consuming more than 20 drinks per week is considered heavy drinking for men. While for women, 16 drinks per week is the limit.
A diseased liver produces its effects on the other parts of the body as well. A brain disorder, named hepatic encephalopathy is caused by liver dysfunction. It is associated with changes in basic brain function such as disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings and even anxiety and depression. In more serious cases, even death is resulted.
Brain damage caused by alcohol: Alcohol produces both long term and short term effects on brain. The short term effects of alcohol include cognitive impairment, loss of memory, loss of coordination etc. Long term effects of alcohol on brain are even more serious. Studies revealed that alcoholic men and women exhibit brain shrinkage that is a symptom of brain damage.
Alcohol consumption is associated with the development of deficiency of vitamin B1 or thiamine. Its deficiency can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome produces a number of symptoms such as mental confusion, inability to coordinate muscles to perform even simplest of tasks, problems learning and retaining information.
Heart damage due to alcohol: Excessive consumption of alcohol causes a number of cardiovascular problems such as development of hypertension, atrial fibrillation, hemorrhage and stroke.