Special Report

Excessive Drinking Is Less Than You Think: 23 Ways a Drinking Habit Can Harm You

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16. Numbness and tingling

Alcohol may cause damage to the central nervous system, which can result in numbness and tingling in the legs, feet, and arms. Nerve damage happens over time, and symptoms slowly get worse if the drinking continues. More serious symptoms of nerve damage caused by excessive drinking include burning and freezing pains, lack of motor coordination, and unsteady gait.

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17. Osteoporosis

Long-term excessive drinking may prevent the body from keeping bones strong and healthy. Drinking increases the risk of thinning bones, or osteoporosis. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D, both of which are crucial for healthy bones.

Bone loss can get worse for years before a person experiences symptoms or until he or she falls and fractures a bone.

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18. Pneumonia

People who drink excessively over a long period of time are more likely to develop pneumonia, an infection of the lungs causing the air sacs to fill with fluid, making it harder to breathe. Alcohol can cause lung inflammation, impairing a person’s gag and cough reflexes, which are defensive mechanisms of the respiratory tract. This increases the risk of pneumonia.

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19. Poor sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. It wears off in the middle of the night, often causing people to wake up. Alcohol is known to reduce the rapid eye movement stage of sleep in which people dream or prevent people from being deeply asleep. The brain wave patterns of a sleeping person who drank at night are similar to the brain wave patterns of people who are awake but resting. Some types of alcohol are also high in sugar, raising your blood sugar level and keeping you awake.

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20. Sexual dysfunction

Men who drink too much are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. There is some evidence linking chronic heavy use of alcohol to an increased risk for long-term erectile dysfunction. Heavy drinking can also prevent testosterone production and lower libido.

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