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Alcohol Dependence

Excessive Alcohol Consumption Can Cause Lung Damage

lung damage from excessive alcohol useA new research study at Loyola University Chicago has revealed that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to lung damage, as well as a variety of other problems. Heart disease, cancer, and liver problems are all known effects of alcohol abuse, but the latest study shows that lung damage is another consequence to this form of substance abuse. The researchers found that the normal protective mechanisms which help protect the lings are compromised by excessive alcohol consumption, and people who consume alcohol heavily exhale less nitric oxide than those who do not drink to excess in the same amounts. Since nitric oxide helps provide protection against certain strains of harmful bacteria less of this substance in the lungs means less protection. According to Majid Afshar, M.D., M.S.C.R., the lead author of the study, pulmonologist, and pulmonary and critical care medicine division assistant professor, “Alcohol appears to disrupt the healthy balance in the lung.”

The study on lung damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption shows the dangers of alcohol abuse. Another consideration is asthma testing, because exhaled nitric oxide testing is used to determine whether asthma medications are working properly. Consuming too much alcohol could impact the test results, making it much harder for medical professionals to determine whether asthma is being sufficiently controlled. Dr. Afshar explained that “Lung doctors may need to take this into consideration. Accounting for alcohol use in the interpretation of [exhaled nitric oxide] levels should be an additional consideration, and further investigations are warranted to explore the complex interaction between alcohol and nitric oxide in the airways.”