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Drinking Could Send You To An Early Grave

 Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, explores the devastating impact alcohol can have on your health.


Alcohol consumption is responsible for nearly 3 million fatalities each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This figure accounts for 5.3% of all deaths worldwide. 


Focussing specifically on South Africa, research conducted in 2018 by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) revealed an estimated 5 to 6 million South Africans suffer from alcohol addiction or abuse. This accounts for 10% to 12% of the population.


Aside from the immediate dangers of alcohol intake, such as impaired judgement and an increased chance of accidents, the long-term consequences of alcohol on the body are severe and can be lethal.

Raise a Glass to Your Health?  

Here are just a few of the devastating consequences alcohol can have on your body: 

Liver Damage 

When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into your bloodstream through the walls of your stomach and small intestine. From there, it travels to your liver, which works to break down the alcohol into less toxic substances and remove it from your body.


As alcohol is metabolised in the liver, it produces a toxic substance called acetaldehyde, which can cause damage to the liver and lead to illnesses such as cirrhosis, a potentially fatal disease that can result in liver failure.



Alcohol intake increases the risk of getting liver, breast, and colon cancers. Even moderate alcohol intake, according to the American Cancer Society, can raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. 

Cardiovascular Illness 

Heavy alcohol use is also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, excessive alcohol intake can result in high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.


Reduced Brain Activity 

Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant. It can slow down brain activity and affect mood, thinking, and behaviour. Initially, alcohol can produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. 


As you continue to drink, it can lead to impaired judgment, slurred speech, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Mental Well-being

Heavy drinking can increase the likelihood of developing depression and anxiety and intensify symptoms in people with these problems. Alcohol intake is also frequently associated with domestic violence and interpersonal aggression.


Alcohol intake might raise the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. This chronic illness can cause a variety of health concerns.

5 Alcohol Addiction Symptoms 

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a complex disease that can develop over time and be difficult to recognise. Many people with alcohol addiction may try to hide or deny their symptoms. 


However, understanding the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction is crucial for seeking help and beginning the road to recovery

1. Drinking despite negative consequences:
If someone continues to drink even though they know that it is causing problems in their personal or professional life, such as relationship problems, work issues, or legal troubles, this can be a sign of alcohol addiction.

2. Cravings and loss of control:
A strong desire or urge to drink, or feeling like you cannot stop drinking once you start, can be a sign of alcohol addiction. This can lead to binge drinking or drinking to the point of blacking out.


3. Withdrawal symptoms:
When someone stops drinking or reduces their alcohol consumption, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea, or anxiety. This can be a sign of physical alcohol dependence.

4. Tolerance:
Over time, someone with an alcohol addiction may need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effects as before. This can lead to an increased risk of health problems and more severe withdrawal symptoms

5. Loss of interest in other activities:
Someone with alcohol addiction may begin to prioritise drinking over other activities that they used to enjoy, such as hobbies, socialising with friends, or spending time with family. This can signify a more significant problem and may indicate the need for professional help.

How To Reduce Alcohol Consumption 

There are many strategies that individuals can use to reduce their alcohol consumption. These include setting limits on the amount of alcohol consumed, avoiding binge drinking, and seeking help if necessary.


“Alcohol abuse and addiction are significant issues in South Africa, with several factors contributing to the problem. These include a high poverty level, high stress and trauma, and the easy availability of alcohol,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“If you are struggling with alcohol addiction or abuse, it is important to seek professional help before alcohol negatively affects your health.”

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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