How Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Your Body

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Alcohol and drug abuse, and the lifestyle that normally accompanies long term addiction, often leads to weight gain and high blood pressure (hypertension). It would be difficult to find a person who is new to recovery that doesn’t suffer from an elevated heart rate and an increased level of fat around their body.

Alcohol in particular will increase your body mass due to its high sugar content. Drinking vast amounts of booze over an extended period of time is like living on a steady diet of ice cream, candy bars and soda. Eventually, it’s going to catch up with you, resulting in substantial weight gain.

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Likewise, alcohol increases the amount of fats in your bloodstream resulting in damage to your arteries which can lead to hypertension if left untreated. These hardened arties also increase the chance of blood clots which can, and often do, cause heart attacks and strokes in addicts. Not a pretty picture, but something we need to be very aware if we want to live long, healthy, sober lives.

Prior to getting sober, my doctor informed me that I was suffering from fatty liver and pre-hypertension. At the time I weighed 200 pounds. For a man who is 5’ 8”, my healthy weight should be closer to 155 pounds. When I finally got clean, I was appalled at how heavy I was. I couldn’t see my own feet when I looked down. Walking up a flight of stairs felt like climbing Mount Everest. I wheezed every time I crossed the living room. Each time I checked my blood pressure at the local pharmacy it registered so high I thought my heart was about to explode in my chest. I became seriously paranoid I was going to have a heart attack at any minute.

It took time to reduce the weight, I won’t lie. I struggled with the pounds over the first year of my sobriety. But I was determined to shed the extra weight and began to focus on diet and exercise as a way to reach my goal. I recommend you do the same thing. With some time and effort, you can reduce your weight and blood pressure, and hopefully, get your heart rate back to normal.


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*Health Tip: Eating salty foods can lead to high blood pressure. Try to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. One of the fastest ways to do this is by avoiding fast food restaurants. Also, try to use less salt when cooking and eating.

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