Alcohol comes with a number of side effects on the different forms of blood cells as well as their functions. For instance, too much consumption of alcohol may lead to generalized repression of production of blood cell and the production of unusual structure of blood cell precursors, which may not develop into functional cells.
Frequently, alcoholics have faulty red blood cells, which are prematurely destroyed, probably leading to anemia. Alcohol may also interfere with the function and production of WBC (White Blood Cells), particularly the ones that protect the body against attacking bacteria. As a result, alcoholics normally suffer from certain bacterial infections. Lastly, alcohol harmfully affects the platelets as well as other components of the blood clotting system. Therefore, heavy consumption of alcohol might increase the risk of a drinker to suffer a stroke.
The ones who consume too much alcohol may be at a high risk for a number of medical complications related to alcohol. These include the ones affecting the blood (such as the proteins and blood cells present within the blood plasma) as well as the bone marrow in which the blood cells are created. The adverse effects of alcohol on the hematopoietic or blood-building system are both indirect and direct. The direct end results of too much alcohol consumption may include toxic impacts on the precursors of the blood cell, the bone marrow, as well as the mature RBCs (Red Blood Cells), WBCs (White Blood Cells), and even platelets. The indirect effects of alcohol may also include nutritional deficiencies that damage the function and production of different blood cells.
There indirect and direct effects of alcohol may result to some serious medical issues for a drinker. For instance, anemia that results from diminished production of RBCs and damaged RBC function and metabolism may lead to lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fatigue and even abnormal heartbeats and decreased mental capacity. A reduction in function and number of WBCs may boost the risk of severe infection to the drinker, while damaged platelet function and production may interfere with blood clotting that may lead to symptoms that range from simple nose bleeding to bleeding inside the brain (such as hemorrhagic stroke). Lastly, alcohol related deficiencies within the plasma proteins, which are needed for blood clotting might result to the formation of blood clots (such as thrombosis).
Unfortunately, alcoholism is typically found all across the major populations. As mentioned earlier, too much consumption of alcohol might lead to a range of hematological deficiencies that include macrocytosis, sideroblastic and megablastic changes, and the so called thrombocytopenia. Even though the macrocytosis or enlarged red blood cells alcoholism might be secondary to bad nutrition with the resulting Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency (damaged DNA synthesis), it is more commonly because of the direct alcohols toxicity on the bone marrow.
In alcoholics, macrocytosis is considered to be the outcome of acetaldehyde’s toxicity, the byproduct of metabolism of ethanol on the haematopoieteic cells of bone marrow. Frequent alcoholism usually leads to hepatic or liver damage. Patients suffering from obstructive jaundice and hepatic disease suffer from macrocytosis, which is secondary to high phospholipids or cholesterol deposited on the members of the circulating RBCs.