Life Expectancy of Alcoholics
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Francine Mends, MD on June 12, 2020
Alcohol abuse can shorten your life. It has the ability to damage many parts of the body, and it definitely causes aging. On top of that, it adversely affects the mind and behavior.
The life expectancy of alcoholics is ultimately shorter than the rest of the population for a number of reasons. Read on to learn how you can safeguard your health.
How Alcohol Affects Aging
To put it simply, alcohol makes you age faster and harder. Research shows that alcohol causes both “accelerated aging” and “exaggerated aging”.
Accelerated aging means that the problems of old age begin sooner. Exaggerated aging means the problems of old age are worse.
These problems include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disorders
- Digestive system disorders
- Brain and memory problems
- Bone loss
How Alcohol Affects the Heart
The American Heart Association warns people not to start drinking. Heavy alcohol use can damage the heart and shorten your life. One of the biggest factors is high blood pressure.
Even drinking more than three drinks at once can temporarily raise your blood pressure. Long-term alcohol use can lead to more permanent effects.
High blood pressure makes things difficult for your heart and circulatory system. It can lead to stroke or heart attack at a young age.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain
Alcohol is a “neurotoxin.” It’s literally poison for the brain. Researchers have found that alcohol acts on a part of the nervous system called the “HPA axis” that raises the amount of stress hormones in the body.
These hormones cause a lot of common aging problems. Most importantly, they can damage a part of the brain called the “hippocampus.” This part of the brain plays a major role in memory.
How Alcohol Affects Life Expectancy
A study in Europe found that life expectancy for people suffering from alcohol use disorder is 24-28 years shorter than the average. Specifically, people who were hospitalized for alcohol abuse had very low life expectancies. Men had a life expectancy of 47-53 years and women 50-58 years.
In the study, alcohol abuse increased the rate of death for all causes, including diseases, medical conditions and suicide. This shows that alcohol negatively affects life expectancy not just due to its physical effects but its mental and behavioral effects as well.
Get Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Before It’s Too Late
Alcohol is bad for you, no doubt about it. Its poisonous effects hurt the body and mind. They decrease both your life expectancy and quality of life. Luckily, while many of the effects are severe, most can be reversed.
By seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, you take the first step toward a healthy lifestyle.
Using our directory, you can find a professional treatment center near you. Seeking quality treatment can give you the help you need to start reversing the toll alcohol has taken. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get help today.
We would love your feedback.
Was this article helpful?
Let Us Help
Use our form below to speak with an addictions specialist today. Let our team of experts in the addiction field help point you in the right direction.