Alcohol Abuse Is Associated With Infections Like TB And Cancer
It has been found that alcohol has profound and multiple effects on the immune system. It is widely documented that alcoholics suffer more with bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, than the rest of the population. It is thought that the effects of alcohol on the immune system may also make people more vulnerable to becoming infected with HIV, and developing AIDS, and also cancer.
Some of the effects of alcohol on immunity are seen in chronic (long-term) alcohol abuse, while others occur in both chronic and acute (short-term) abuse eg after an alcoholic ‘binge’.
In chronic abuse, alcohol can stimulate the immune system and cells in the liver attract white cells in such great numbers that they damage the organ and prevent it from working properly. This causes a condition known as alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
After an alcoholic binge, the immune system tends to be suppressed, so that fewer white cells are produced in response to injury, or invasion by bacteria or viruses. This makes someone more susceptible to infection, and less able to fight it off.