While one glass of wine per day can have beneficial health effects, moderate and severe alcohol consumption could cause problems related to several organ systems. Some manifestations of alcohol abuse occur only after long-term use, but there are serious side effects that can appear after a single use. Here we discuss whether alcohol consumption is related to increased risk of bleeding, as reported by some persons.
Alcohol And Blood Coagulation
There is scientific evidence that alcohol can suppress the function of platelets, which are important during the first phase of blood clot formation. Even moderate alcohol consumption can make the platelets less able to "glue" together and form blood clots. This is the anti-aggregation mechanism, similar to effects of aspirin. Alcohol has controversial effects on the health of blood vessels and cardiovascular system in general. It has been proven that persons with moderate alcohol consumption have less pronounced atherosclerotic lesions in their blood vessels. This can be beneficial for prevention of heart attack and ischemic stroke (stroke due to a clotted blood vessel in brain), but it can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (stroke due to rupture of a blood vessel in brain).
Moderate drinking can be considered as a potential "blood thinner".
Coommon Types Of Bleeding In Chronic Alcohol Abuse
Chronic alcohol abuse as well as binge drinking can affect liver function, thus leading to many systemic problems. Liver is the main organ for transformation and elimination of exogenous and endogenous toxins, but after excess alcohol consumption, the liver is too busy degrading alcohol, so the toxins remain in the body for longer period of time. Liver damage can progress to cirrhosis which is an irreversible condition. Blood flow through the damaged liver is interrupted and it causes the condition called portal hypertension. Portal hypertension then leads to enlargement of esophageal veins called varices. Rupture of varices is often abrupt and in many cases can cause death due to excessive bleeding.
Alcohol acts on the stomach mucosa, causing micro injuries and inflammation (chronic gastritis). Chronic gastritis can produce bleeding which manifests as dark stool or vomiting blood or blood in stool after drinking alcohol. If there already is an existing gastrointestinal problem (gastritis, peptic ulcer, colon cancer, etc.) alcohol can worsen clinical presentation and prognosis of the main disease.
Bleeding from other body parts except from gastrointestinal tract is unusual as a consequence of alcohol use, but alcohol can trigger bleeding if there are some other problems, such as open wounds, injuries, and coagulation problems. Patients using aspirin and anticoagulant therapy should avoid alcohol as it can potential the effects of these drugs.
In conclusion, this can cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, or worsen bleeding caused by other factors. Although scientists argue about the beneficial effects of mild drinking (one glass per day), everyone agrees that more than that is bad for human health.
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