The health risk associated with alcohol use are numerous and can be life threatening but because of it wide use and acceptance, it has become easy to overlook or discount the health and social damage caused or contributed by its consumption.
Alcohol is a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties. It is the active ingredient in drinks such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits (hard liquor).
Aside being one of the oldest and most common recreational substances, alcoholic beverages are a routine part of socializing for many society today – whether in ceremonies of celebration, mourning, or business.
The health risk from alcohol use especially its abuse and accompanying dependency, causes a heavy burden in many areas
Disease burden from alcohol consumption
The consumption of alcohol contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease.
Harmful use of alcohol is accountable for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden of disease for males and females respectively.
Alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among those aged 15 to 49 years, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in this age group.
Disadvantaged and especially vulnerable populations have higher rates of alcohol-related death and hospitalization.
Effect on body systems
Alcohol affects the central nervous system and increases the risk for intentional and unintentional injuries and adverse social consequences. It has considerable toxic effects on the digestive- and cardiovascular systems.
As Carcinogen and Immune suppressant
Alcoholic beverages are classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and increase the risk of several cancer types. Alcohol as an immunosuppressant increases the risk of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV.