Alcoholism symptoms physical effects. Anemia And Alcoholism: A Dangerous Combination

Alcohol has many negative health consequences, from acute hepatitis to cirrhosis of the liver. Its effect on the liver, for instance, is relatively well known. Alcoholism symptoms physical effects.

What about the relationship between alcohol abuse and other bodily systems? Alcohol abuse can lead to certain types of anemia with long-term consequences.

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is an umbrella term to describe a lack of healthy red blood cells. Patients with anemia may experience:

It’s the most common blood disorder in the United States and it comes in many forms, including:

The relationship between anemia and alcohol abuse is multifactorial. The resulting type of anemia depends on lifestyle factors and comorbidities.

The Anemia And Alcoholism Connection

Poor nutrition is a risk factor for anemia in many alcoholics. Many of us get the nutrients we need for healthy blood production from the foods we eat. For example, shellfish, dairy products, red meat, eggs and fortified cereals are rich in vitamin B12.

Iron-rich foods include dark leafy greens, beans, fortified grains and most types of meat. By incorporating variety into our diets, we get the vitamins and minerals we need – such as B12 and iron – to produce enough healthy red blood cells without a second thought.

Alcoholics, however, may neglect to eat regularly or may vomit due to excessive alcohol consumption. When empty alcohol calories replace healthy food calories and nutrients, alcoholics are at risk for nutritional deficiency anemia.

Alcoholism symptoms physical effects

Direct Toxic Effects Of Alcoholism

While dietary intake plays a role in alcohol-related anemias, alcohol also has a direct toxic effect on blood production. Specifically, alcohol affects bone marrow and suppresses the normal production of red blood cells (RBCs). Chronic, excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to abnormal structure of RBCs and the presence of macrocytes (enlarged RBCs), a condition known as macrocytosis.

Macrocytosis And Anemia

Macrocytosis can be attributed to alcoholism whether or not there is liver disease present. In alcoholics, macrocytosis is often indicative of poor absorption of B12 or folic acid. B12 deficiency anemia has these unique symptoms, which may be mild at first:

Diarrhea or constipation

Over time, as B12 stores deplete within the body, symptoms may become more severe, such as:

Problems concentrating

Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet

Poor B12 absorption can be due to nutritional deficiencies or structural abnormalities of the RBCs.

Alcoholism symptoms physical effects

Hemolytic Anemia In Alcoholics

Alcoholics are more likely to suffer from a specialized type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. Our red blood cells are disc- or donut-shaped, with a circle in the middle called a neutrophil. Hemolytic anemia occurs when this shape is compromised, leading to a shortened life span.

Hemolytic anemia may result in a spur-shaped RBC or the neutrophil may be abnormally structured. When these cells die, the bone marrow can’t produce enough to meet the body’s demands.

How Is Anemia Treated?

How a physician treats anemia depends on the underlying cause. In B12 or folic acid deficiency anemia, a proper diet may improve the condition. Patients may need B12 shots regularly until the body’s stores replenish.

For hemolytic anemia, patients may need blood transfusions to keep up with the rapid rate of cell death. Depending on its severity, hemolytic anemia ranges from asymptomatic (showing no signs) to potentially fatal.

Outlook And Prognosis

The patient outlook for alcohol-related anemia is good, provided he or she addresses the alcohol abuse. A comprehensive treatment plan includes:

A well-balanced diet rich in B12, folic acid, iron, proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates

Participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program

Alcoholism symptoms physical effects

Attending all doctor’s appointments until the condition is under control

Fortunately, even many of the structural abnormalities associated with hemolytic anemia and macrocytosis can correct themselves after a patient abstains from alcohol. In cases of severe liver damage, however, a patient may need lifelong treatment.

Getting A Patient Into Treatment

Effective intervention can stop – and even reverse – some of the physiological effects of alcohol. If a loved one suffers from alcohol abuse, then try to help him or her enroll in a quality treatment program. Early intervention is essential for the best patient outcomes.

Click the button below and speak to one of our specialists today.

Posted by at 08:08PM

Tags: alcoholism symptoms physical effects

Overall rating page: 3.66/5 left 53549 people.


There are no comments for this post "Anemia And Alcoholism: A Dangerous Combination". Be the first to comment...

Add Comment