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Alcohol Risks: Chronic Alcohol Consumption May Break You (that is your bones)!

Posted Nov 20 2009 10:04pm

Most people know that alcoholism leads to problems with one’s liver, heart, and brain. To make matters worse, alcohol consumption makes you more prone to fractures. In other words, alcohol makes your body even more broken than you previously thought!
Why? Alcoholism affects the density of bones. In other words, chronic alcohol consumption can lead to a condition called osteoporosis (thinning of your bones). Ethanol actually decreases bone formation. The more you drink, the more bone you lose.

If you think you or someone you care about are drinking too much, click here to readmy free guideabout the symptoms of alcoholism toassess if you or a loved may have an alcohol problem.

Osteoporosis is more common when liver cirrhosis is present. Poor nutrition in alcoholics such as protein deficiency can contribute to bone loss as well. Decreased vitamin D in alcoholics may affect bone growth as well  (Malik et al. 2009). If you stop drinking, what happens to your bones?

Here’s the good news. Abstinence from alcohol may partially improve the changes in bone formation. In 2003, Clark et al. found that women who were not abusing alcohol had better bone mass than women who abused alcohol. Another study showed that women who abstained had better bone formation than women who were active drinkers (Crilley et al 1988, Diamond et al. 1989). A recent study by Alvisa-Negrin et al. included 77 heavy drinkers (9 women) with a long history of drinking (28 years +/- 11 years), most who had osteopenia (that is the stage before you get osteoporosis). The authors showed that bone mass increased with six months of abstinence.

Therefore, if you (or someone you love ) are drinking too much, remember that alcohol thins your bones and puts you at risk for fractures. However, if you quit drinking for a prolonged period, your bone density increases. The lesson: Don’t get any more broken than you already are and get help to stop drinking. Quitting drinking will make you stronger- literally!

From: Dr. Uhr’s Blog on Advanced Help for Alcoholism, Addiction, and Recovery

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