Heavy drinking of alcohol comes with health consequences, women in particular are more prone to serious complications from alcohol — including an increased risk of alcohol-related death.
Drinking alcohol can cause long-term health problems in both men and women but it hits women harder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “gender differences in body structure and chemistry cause women to absorb more alcohol, and take longer to break it down and remove [metabolize] it from their bodies,” adding, “These differences also make it more likely that drinking will cause long-term health problems in women than men.”
Excessive alcohol use can lead to several health issues over time — and women are particularly affected. “The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men,” according to the CDC. Drinking too much alcohol can also affect the brain, causing shrinkage and memory loss. According to the CDC, “women are more vulnerable than men to the brain damaging effects of excessive alcohol use, and the damage tends to appear with shorter periods of excessive drinking for women than for men.”
Heavy drinking also affects the heart. Studies shows that women who drink excessively have a higher risk of damaging the heart muscle than men, “even for women drinking at lower levels.”
Humphreys explains that, one of the reasons alcohol has a more profound effect on women is because, on average, they weigh less than men. According to the NIAAA: “Alcohol resides predominantly in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men. This means that after a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration… will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm.”
But it’s not just about size. Research shows that women also have fewer alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes, which help the body metabolize alcohol.
“Next time you go to a bar or a liquor store, keep the risks of alcohol in mind,” noted the National Center For Health Research .
Source: Rachel Grumman Bender