Many people are aware that alcohol abuse can cause a number of health problems and put individuals at risk for injury and even death. However, not everyone is familiar with the fact that alcohol abuse can also cause premature aging. Chronic heavy drinking can significantly age the body and result in early signs of aging and other visible changes.
Seeking treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction is the most effective way to prevent the negative effects of alcohol on the body. Vertava Health offers a number of treatment programs that can help individuals overcome alcohol use disorders and reclaim their lives in sobriety.
How Does Alcohol Abuse Result In Premature Aging?
Abusing alcohol can cause the body to age in a number of ways and has been directly linked to premature aging. Alcohol can affect every part of the body, and chronic heavy drinking can cause significant damage to the organs and other body parts. Additionally, one study found that alcohol causes the body to age on a cellular level, which can increase a person’s risk of age-related diseases.
What’s more, alcohol is hepatotoxic. This means that alcohol causes direct damage to the cells in the liver. The liver cells are responsible for detoxifying the body and can also impact the skin. The more damaged the liver cells are, the less the liver is able to detox the body, which can result in premature aging.
Let’s explore the specific parts of the body that can age as a result of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol can take a serious toll on a person’s skin. To begin, alcohol can deplete levels of vitamins, such as vitamin A, which are crucial to the health of the skin. Vitamin A depletion can reduce levels of collagen, which can result in premature wrinkles as well as a loss of elasticity and fullness in the face.
Alcohol can also cause dehydration, which can contribute to the development of wrinkles on the face as well as excessively dry skin. Chronic alcohol consumption can additionally cause redness and puffiness in the face and can even lead to permanent rosacea, or blotchiness and redness.
Additional effects that alcohol can have on the skin include:
- yellowed skin
- spider veins
- higher risk of skin infections
- worsened existing skin conditions
- red spots on the skin
- skin color changes
What’s more, alcohol acts as a vasodilator, which means that it widens the blood vessels in the face and body. Regular alcohol abuse causes the blood vessels to continue to widen. Over time, this can cause loss of skin tone and permanent redness on the face. It can also cause blood vessels in the face to enlarge and even burst open. The more alcohol someone drinks, the more likely he or she is to experience the negative effects on the skin.
Excess weight – especially around the waist and jowls – can add years to a person’s appearance. Because alcohol is full of empty calories and often excess sugar and carbohydrates, chronic consumption can quickly lead to weight gain. Alcohol can raise insulin levels and cause the body to store more fat, especially around the stomach. This is why some people who drink excessively have what is often referred to as a “beer belly.”
Additionally, alcohol abuse can affect a person’s hormones. This is can result in breast development in men and can even cause men to carry weight in places like the breasts, hips, and thighs (similar to women) rather than the stomach.
Additional Ways That Alcohol Abuse Can Cause Premature Aging
In addition to directly affecting the skin and a person’s weight, alcohol abuse can impact a number of other bodily functions that can result in premature aging. For example, alcohol abuse can cause the body to release excess amounts of stress hormones. This, in turn, can speed up the aging process as well as wreak havoc on various other parts of a person’s body and mind.
Other ways that alcohol can impact the aging process include:
- causing increased amounts of free radicals in the body
- causing harm to organs in the body
- causing the brain to age and lessening the brain’s ability to function optimally
- dehydrating the body, which can result in premature aging over the long term
- causing sleep disruption, which can affect appearance and cognitive function
- causing a depletion of healthy nutrients in the body
In short, alcohol abuse can result in various bodily disturbances and conditions that will ultimately cause a person to age faster. The longer a person abuses alcohol, the more significant the impact will be.
Getting Help For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Alcohol abuse and addiction can have a negative impact on every aspect of a person’s life. If you or a loved one is dealing with an alcohol use disorder, help is available. Vertava Health has several treatment facilities in various states, all of which offer customized programs of recovery to help people overcome alcohol addiction.
To learn more about how alcohol abuse can cause premature aging, contact Vertava Health’ treatment professional today.