Alcohol and Anemia

Alcohol and Anemia: Can Alcohol Cause Anemia?

Last Updated: Sep 14th 2022

Reviewed by North Jersey Recovery Center

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Alcohol can cause anemia by interfering with your body’s ability to make new red blood cells.

Anemia is associated with poor cognitive and motor development in children, and work capacity in adults, influencing the country’s economic development. Among pregnant women, iron deficiency anemia is also associated with adverse reproductive outcomes such as preterm delivery, low-birth-weight infants, and decreased iron stores for the baby, which may lead to impaired development.

In 2019, global anemia prevalence was 39.8% (95% UI 36.0%, 43.8%) in children aged 6-59 months, equivalent to 269 million children with anemia. The prevalence of anemia in children under five was highest in the African Region, 60.2% (95% UI 56.6%, 63.7%). 

What Is the Role of a Red Blood Cell?

Red blood cells (RBCs) are cells that circulate in the blood and carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Anemia occurs when there is a decrease in the number of RBCs or hemoglobin, which is the protein in RBCs that carries oxygen. When there is less oxygen being carried to the body’s tissues, you may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.

What Is the Role of Vitamin B12?

The role of vitamin b12  is to help with the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. When there is a deficiency of vitamin b12, it can lead to anemia. Vitamin B12 is common in animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, and fish. It can also be found in some fortified foods, such as cereals and energy bars. Alcoholics are more likely to develop anemia because alcohol abuse can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.

How Is Anemia Diagnosed? 

A blood test is needed to diagnose anemia. The test measures the level of red blood cells in the blood. If the level is low, it may be due to anemia. Treatment for anemia will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, iron supplements may be all that is needed. Other treatments may include blood transfusions or surgery.

So, Who is Most at Risk of Developing Anemia?

If you abuse alcohol, it’s important to be aware of the risks and seek help if necessary. Anemia is a blood disorder characterized by a low red blood cell count. If you have any of the following chronic conditions, you might be at greater risk for developing anemia:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

The signs and symptoms of anemia can easily be overlooked. In fact, many people do not even realize that they have anemia until it is identified in a blood test.

In 2019, global anemia prevalence was 29.9% (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 27.0%, 32.8%) in women of reproductive age, equivalent to over half a billion women aged 15-49 years. Prevalence was 29.6% (95% UI 26.6%, 32.5%) in non-pregnant women of reproductive age, and 36.5% (95% UI 34.0%, 39.1%) in pregnant women.

Is Anemia Genetic?

Anemia can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Blood loss
  • Poor diet
  • Certain medications
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Genetic disorders

What Are the Signs/Symptoms of Someone Having Anemia?

The signs and symptoms of anemia can vary depending on the underlying cause. But in general, symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Cold hands and feet

If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor and get checked for anemia. Anemia is a treatable condition, so it’s important to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Anemia can be treated with supplements or by making changes to your diet. If alcohol is the cause of your anemia, cutting back on alcohol or quitting drinking altogether may help improve.

Why Do Alcohol Cause Malnutrition and Vitamin Deficiency?

Alcohol is responsible for a range of problems that lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. First, alcoholics are more likely to have poor diets. They may not eat enough food or they may not eat a variety of foods that are needed for good nutrition. Second, alcohol abuse can damage the digestive system, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients from food. Finally, heavy alcohol use can also lead to liver damage, which can make it hard for the liver to process nutrients properly.

Most American adults consume alcohol at least once in their lifetime. Among them, 6.7% will develop Alcohol Use Disorder. 25.8% of people aged 18 years and older report binge drinking in the past 30 days. Every day, 261 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use.

80% of these deaths involve adults aged 35 or older. Alcohol causes 10% of deaths among 15- to 49-year-olds. Worldwide, up to 3.3 million people die every year as a result of alcohol abuse. Men are 3 times as likely as women to die as a consequence of alcohol abuse. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined excessive alcohol use is responsible for 7.1% of diseases among males and 2.2% among females. Collectively, Americans lose over 2.7 million years of potential life due to excessive drinking.

What Are the Consequences of Alcohol-induced Anemia?

If you think you might be at risk for developing anemia due to alcohol use, talk to your doctor about getting tested. Anemia can also decrease your overall quality of life. If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, there is help available. Alcoholism is a serious disease that requires treatment. 

Alcoholics are also more likely to have gastrointestinal problems that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food. In addition, alcohol interferes with the liver’s ability to process nutrients properly.

People who drink alcohol excessively are at risk for developing a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia, which is caused by the body’s inability to produce enough healthy red blood cells. This can be due to a lack of vitamin B12 or folate (also known as vitamin B9). Megaloblastic anemia is characterized by larger-than-normal red blood cells that don’t function properly.

Heavy alcohol use can also damage the bone marrow, where blood cells are made. This can lead to a decrease in all types of blood cells, including red blood cells. Alcohol abuse can also cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), which can lead to a decrease in the production of erythropoietin, a hormone that helps regulate red blood cell production.

Can Alcohol Intensify Existing Anemic Conditions?

If you have anemia, drinking alcohol can make your symptoms worse. Alcohol can also interfere with the absorption of iron and other nutrients that are essential for maintaining a healthy blood supply. If you have anemia, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to consume.

Alcohol abuse can lead to anemia through a variety of mechanisms. This substance inhibits the absorption of many nutrients, including iron. Alcohol also damages the liver, which is responsible for producing enzymes that help the body absorb nutrients. In addition, alcohol abuse can cause bleeding and inflammation, both of which can lead to anemia. 

What Is the Treatment for Alcohol and Anemia?

Treatment for alcohol and anemia typically involves addressing the underlying alcohol abuse. This may require professional help, such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. It is also important to eat a balanced diet and take supplements as recommended by a doctor. If you have heavy alcohol use, you may also need blood transfusions. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options are best for you.

Detoxification from alcohol is the first step in treatment. It is best to avoid doing this on your own. Instead, seek the help of a professional alcohol detox program. After detox, you will need to address the underlying causes of your alcohol abuse. This may require therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes. You will also need to eat a balanced diet and take supplements as recommended by your doctor. If you have heavy alcohol use, you may also need blood transfusions. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options are best for you.

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. In New Jersey, there are 397 active substance abuse facilities. 38,326 patients in New Jersey receive treatment annually for drug rehab. 35,454 patients enrolled in New Jersey’s drug rehab outpatient services annually.

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. If you think you or someone you know may be developing anemia due to alcohol use, talk to your doctor about testing.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Anemia?

The long-term effects of anemia can be serious. Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. It can also lead to serious health problems, such as heart failure and stroke. If you have alcohol-related anemia, it is important to get treatment to help prevent these long-term effects.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?

Long-term alcohol abuse can introduce serious and even fatal health problems. These include liver disease, cancer, heart failure, stroke, and pancreatitis. Alcohol-related anemia is one condition that can develop as a result of long-term alcohol abuse. 

Here’s Your Ticket for A New Beginning

Anemia can be taxing on the body if an individual takes no measures to help reduce the symptoms. Alcohol-induced anemia may be a sign of a substance use disorder. If left untreated, alcohol addiction can lead to financial, interpersonal, and safety issues. North Jersey Recovery Center understands that your path ahead will require support and consistency to help. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, contact our facility today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by North Jersey Recovery Center