If you or someone you care about has fallen into a pattern of abuse with alcohol, it can be a stressful cycle for everyone involved. However, there are other health factors of which you should be aware that could pose as much risk to a person in the grips of alcohol dependence as the addiction itself. The evidence for co-occurring health issues is mounting, and medical practitioners are discovering how significantly alcohol dependence can impact the entire body.
Triglycerides, Alcohol and Red Flags
While “good” cholesterol (HDL) is needed to keep you together in a literal sense, as it’s what the body uses to create cell walls, blood vessels and other connective tissues, there are concerns with “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and alcohol. When your body is fighting off inflammation, it produces a higher level of LDL in a last-ditch effort to heal itself. The connection between triglycerides and alcohol is also a cause for concern, especially when you or someone close to you is having difficulty practicing moderation.
Elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream are often a sign of a more serious issue. Beyond diet, they can indicate autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and kidney and liver disease, and are a harbinger of cardiovascular issues to come. They act as major red flags for medical professionals that all isn’t right within a patient, and that serious testing for other diseases needs to occur. The complications alcohol abuse presents in conjunction with elevated cholesterol are numerous.
How Triglycerides and Alcohol Impact Each Other
Because alcohol causes a number of issues, such as malabsorption of many nutrients needed to maintain or repair vital systems in the body, doctors often note a sharp rise in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Alcohol is high in sugars and what are often called “empty calories.” This frequently leads to weight gain on its own, even without other factors at play. Because excessive and prolonged patterns of alcohol consumption damages vessel walls, peripheral nerve endings, the digestive tract and the renal system, while also inhibiting the body’s ability to repair the damage, a cascade effect is initiated.
The alcohol causes inflammation as well as excess retention of fat by making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and via the fact that it elevates blood sugar in an unstable way. Here’s the direct link between alcohol and triglycerides: too much sugar in the bloodstream, some of which is stored as fat in a last ditch effort to process it. The body experiences damage, both directly from alcohol consumption and as a result of prolonged elevation of blood glucose. Since the body doesn’t have the necessary nutrients it needs to heal and maintain itself properly, it produces LDL and triglycerides as a stop-gap attempt to save itself.
The good news is that it’s reversible. When alcohol dependence is addressed and diet dysfunctions are remedied, triglyceride levels often return to normal. It’s therefore vital that you or your loved one seek help as soon as possible. The detrimental relationship between triglycerides and alcohol is a major concern, but one that’s infinitely within your power to change.