Alcoholism: A Multi-Systemic Cellular Insult to Organs

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 May 28;15(6):1083. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061083.


Alcohol abuse can affect more than the heart and the liver. Many observers often do not appreciate the complex and differing aspects of alcohol's effects in pathophysiologies that have been reported in multiple organs. Chronic alcohol abuse is known to be associated with pathophysiological changes that often result in life-threatening clinical outcomes, e.g., breast and colon cancer, pancreatic disease, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, kidney disease, immune system dysfunction, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and can be as far-reaching as to cause central nervous system disorders. In this review article, we will discuss the various organs impacted by alcohol abuse. The lack of clear guidelines on the amount and frequency of alcohol intake, complicated by personal demographics, make extrapolations to real-life practices at best difficult for public health policy-makers.

Keywords: alcohol abuse; alcohol beneficial effects; multi-organ effects of alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology*
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena
  • Humans