Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting grains, such as barley and wheat, and is usually flavored with hops. It typically contains a lower amount of alcohol by volume than wine or hard liquor. Drinking beer in moderation may pose few health issues; however, excessive consumption of this beverage may cause a variety of health problems. These problems may be triggered by consumption of more than one or two beers per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Cirrhosis is a liver condition that is characterized by severe scarring of liver tissues. This condition results in decreased liver function, which impairs the ability of this organ to filter toxic wastes from your bloodstream, according to Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." It also blocks the flow of bile to your intestines, which can decrease absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from food sources. Excess consumption of beer and other types of alcohol is a primary cause of cirrhosis.
Chronic and excess consumption of beer is linked to several types of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Specifically, it may increase your risk of developing mouth, throat, colon, breast, liver and larynx cancer. However, the risk of cancer is identical to that posed by consumption of other types of alcohol, such as liquor, wine and malt alcohol beverages. Risk of mouth, larynx and throat cancer may be increased by tobacco use--alcohol may act as a solvent that increases the absorption of harmful chemicals in tobacco.
Accidental injuries represent significant health risks associated with beer consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excess consumption of beer may result in impaired judgment and slowed reaction times, which may increase your risk for motor vehicle accidents, firearm injuries, falls and burns.
Stopping consumption of beer or other types of alcohol after heavy or prolonged use may result in withdrawal symptoms that affect your health. Although some people experience few or no withdrawal symptoms, the withdrawal process can be painful and potentially fatal for others. Anxiety, fatigue, depression and irritability are among the most common withdrawal symptoms, according to Balch. Severe complications include hallucinations, convulsions, coma and death.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Alcoholism
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health
- American Cancer Society: Alcohol Use and Cancer
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.; 2010