Can Alcohol Cause Anemia

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About six to 28 percent of American adults engage in risky or unhealthy alcohol use. Although some studies have shown health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption heavy use over time has many negative effects on the body. Chronic, long-term alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage or alcoholic liver disease.

drinking alcohol

  • When it comes to alcoholism and anemia, luckily there are certain types of anemia that may be reversible.
  • Chelation therapy – This therapy is used when phlebotomy isn’t possible.
  • Bone marrow produces stem cells, which develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • Fatigue, one of its main symptoms, can affect your ability to work and focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms happen for heavier drinkers.

However, when a person’s health is at risk, it is essential to get things under control as soon as possible. When it comes to alcoholism and anemia, luckily there are certain types of anemia that may be reversible. This is achievable only when alcohol is not in a person’s system. It is vital to find a treatment facility that helps with the detox process and provides further therapies. It is important to get treatment for alcohol and anemia as soon as possible.505 patients are in New Jersey’s hospitals for drug rehab.13 facilities in New Jersey offer free drug rehab treatment for all patients. Alcohol abuse can cause serious health problems, including anemia.

Alcohol’s Effects on Iron Metabolism

Although the different blood cells have distinct structures and functions, they are all produced at the same site, the bone marrow, in a complex process called hematopoiesis. The production of all types of blood cells begins with undifferentiated precursor cells—so-called pluripotent stem cells—that can develop into whichever cell type is needed at that time. Alcohol abuse can have several impacts on one’s health, but some of the most harmful can happen at the microbiological level, where we can’t even see it.

Alcohol impacts the production of red blood cells and lowers the number of precursor cells in a person’s bone marrow. The Washington Health Care Authority warns about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Excessive drinking may cause low iron levels, premature aging, anxiety and sleep problems. It’s also a risk factor for macrocytic anemia, a condition characterized by the presence of macrocytes, or enlarged red blood cells. The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when a person’s iron levels are low, and blood loss is often the cause. When the body loses blood, it draws water from tissues outside of the bloodstream to keep the blood vessels full.

That is, it makes sure your body gets the Goldilocks level of iron—not too much, not too little, but just right. Listen, many of us here enjoy a nice glass of wine or beer at the end of a long hard day . This blog is not here to tell you that you can’t drink, but we want you to be educated about how it can impact your overall health and your anemia risk. Part of the problem is due to Americans not understanding what heavy drinking is. The definition of heavy drinking varies a little based on gender. Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms happen for heavier drinkers.


New Jersey is the 15th cheapest state for residential drug rehabilitation treatment (non-hospital). New Jersey’s average cost of outpatient drug rehabilitation services is the same as Maryland’s. Heroin is the primary drug clients seek rehabilitation treatment for in New Jersey. 38,326 patients in New Jersey receive treatment annually for drug rehab.

Hiding Alcoholism: The High-Functioning Alcoholic

Alcohol also directly irritates the inside lining of the stomach, in a condition called gastritis. The body’s blood-clotting system is responsible for closing damage to blood vessels. This process prevents excess loss of blood and helps scabs form. When the blood-clotting system doesn’t function to its full capacity, the body remains open to potential infections and serious levels of blood loss.

alcohol’s effects

Hypersplenism, a the 4 stages of alcoholism for the functioning alcoholic characterized by an enlarged spleen and deficiency of one or more blood cell types, can induce premature RBC destruction. Blood loss occurs primarily in the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., at the sites of peptic ulcers) and is increased in patients with reduced platelet numbers. Folic acid deficiency impairs RBC production and results from decreased ingestion, decreased absorption, and abnormal metabolism of folic acid. Past the development of blood cells in the bone marrow, alcohol abuse can also cause many other complications in red blood cells. With issues in these cells, the human body can experience complications in providing oxygen where it’s needed. Individuals who abuse alcohol are often deficient in nutrients, like zinc, iron, folate and other B vitamins, which play a major role in the efficiency, development and ongoing production of red blood cells.

While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. Before patients leave, they learn essential relapse prevention skills so that sobriety is maintained in the long term. Our staff understands the problems of anemia in alcoholics and goes above and beyond to make sure that all underlying problems are addressed. To get started on the journey towards recovery, contact us today. Unfortunately, such a small issue can turn into a major life-threatening condition like a stroke.

Toxic Effects of Alcohol and Anemia

In addition, alcohol interferes with the liver’s ability to process nutrients properly. Pellegrini N, Pareti FI, Stabile F, Brusamolimo A, Simonetti P. Effects of moderate consumption of red wine on platelet aggregation and hemostatic variables in healthy volunteers. Duarte APT, Dong QS, Young J, Abi-Younes J, Myers AK. Inhibition of platelet aggregation in whole blood by alcohol. 6Moderate drinking, however, has been shown to decrease the risk of ischemic stroke. 5Failure of the platelet counts to rise after 5 to 7 days of abstinence usually indicates the presence of another underlying disorder affecting the platelets. Results of experiments done in laboratory dishes on cultured human and animal bone marrow were reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Understanding this connection between alcoholism and anemia is important. Blood cell precursors require folic acid and other B vitamins for their continued production. Under conditions of folic acid deficiency, precursor cells cannot divide properly and large immature and nonfunctional cells (i.e., megaloblasts) accumulate in the bone marrow as well as in the bloodstream. This impaired hematopoiesis affects mainly RBC’s, but also WBC’s and platelets. For example, iron absorption from the food in the gastrointestinal tract may be elevated in alcoholics.

Furthermore, heavy drinking is a contributing factor to several types of anemia, as reported in a February 2018 research paper featured in ​Discovery Medicine​. This mineral plays a key role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from your lungs to other tissues, as the National Institutes of Health points out. Low hemoglobin levels can be a sign of anemia, iron deficiency, liver problems and even cancer.

To help put your mind at ease, check your hemoglobin levels before you hit the town by using AnemoCheck. You can also use it the morning after to see if and how drinking impacted your overall iron and hemoglobin levels. Chronic alcohol consumption is when someone drinks even when it interferes with their everyday life, according to The Mayo Clinic. Similarly, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that heavy alcohol use is binge drinking (four or more servings of alcohol in a two-hour period) on five or more days per week. 4Platelets actually are not intact cells but disc-shaped cell fragments without nuclei that are released from giant precursor cells in the bone marrow called megakaryocytes. To a lesser extent, vacuoles also develop in the granulocyte precursors of alcoholics.

Alcohol Leading to Red Blood Cell Disorders

But your liver may not be able to keep up if you drink too much too fast. Alcohol can kill liver cells, and lead to scarring called cirrhosis. Long-term heavy use of alcohol also may give you alcoholic fatty liver disease, a sign that your liver doesn’t work as well as it should.

If you think you or someone you know may be developing anemia due to alcohol use, talk to your doctor about testing. To detect blood disorders, physicians frequently examine small blood samples under a microscope and assess the appearance, size, and number of the various blood cells. Each type of blood cell has a characteristic appearance that allows its identification in blood samples. Moreover, the proportion of the different cell types in the blood is relatively constant. Consequently, physicians can diagnose many blood disorders based on changes in the appearance or proportion of certain blood cells.

Altered phosphorylation of vitamin B6 in alcoholic patients induced by oral administration of alcohol . The effect of alcoholism on the absorption of folic acid (H3-PGA) evaluated by plasma levels and urine excretion. Reversible megaloblastic and sideroblastic marrow abnormalities in alcoholic patients.

Alcohol use can also affect the pancreas in a very painful condition called pancreatitis, which often means hospitalization. It has also been linked to cancer of the pancreas, breast, liver, colon, esophagus, head and neck. Thrombocytopenia occurs when someone experiences a reduced level of platelets in the bloodstream.

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