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Symptoms that alcohol may be affecting your health

Could alcohol be causing my health problems or making them worse?

Some people don’t realise that drinking is affecting their health until their symptoms get more serious, but there can be early warning signs. You may not consider alcohol as a possible cause, but if you regularly drink above the low-risk limit, it’s worth asking:

Could alcohol be causing my health problems or making them worse?

Symptoms to look out for

Here is a list of symptoms that can be linked to alcohol. All the symptoms can be a sign of other health conditions, but you can get any symptoms checked out with your GP (family doctor) if you are worried. Or try stopping for a short time and see if things improve.

Physical problems
  • Being overweight
  • Repeated infections
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Dizziness / lightheadedness
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Poor sleep
  • Vision problems
  • Sexual problems like erectile dysfunction
  • Shrinking of your sex organs
  • Reflux or heartburn
  • Tummy pain
  • Skin rashes / dry skin
  • Weak muscles
  • Swollen legs or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor appetite
  • Swollen tummy
  • Itching

Mental problems

  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Finding it hard to learn new things
  • Personality changes
  • Hazy thinking
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Should I go to the doctor? 

If you have any health problems or new or unusual symptoms, it's always best to get them checked by your family doctor (GP). Problems are nearly always easier to sort out if they're treated early.

You can also talk to your GP if alcohol is causing any other problems in your life, or if you have worries about your relationship with alcohol or the amount you are drinking. You might also like to read Worried about your drinking?

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Avoiding health problems

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