To help experts better understand the link between alcohol use disorder and lung diseases, a recent study by the Loyola University Health System has suggested that alcohol use by a patient prior to a lung transplant can extend his/her stay in the hospital and time on ventilator compared to patients who abstained from alcohol before undergoing the surgery. The study also highlighted the fact that such patients had an increased risk of experiencing post-transplant kidney injuries, rejection episodes and irregular heartbeats called atrial arrhythmias.
According to the study, patients who used alcohol before a lung transplant surgery were likely to stay 1.5 times longer in the hospital, three times longer on a ventilator and three times longer in the intensive care unit (ICU). The study suggested abstaining from alcohol even after the surgery in order to avoid any adverse drug interactions.
When understood under the light of a previous research that studied the link between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and lung damage, the findings of the aforementioned study were in sync. Past studies have identified that alcohol use can decrease the lung’s ability to function and increase the risk of pneumonia, the most common alcoholic lung disease. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by three to fourfold. The condition is a severe form of acute lung disease with a mortality rate of 40 to 50 percent.
Alcohol and lung diseases
So far, alcohol has largely been associated with liver diseases, such as alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholic fatty liver disease and acute alcoholic hepatitis. Then again, the growing incidence of alcohol-related lung injuries has raised concerns among researchers and medical experts as nearly “tens of thousands of” people succumb to alcohol-mediated lung injuries every year in the United States.
Currently, studies conducted to understand how alcohol predisposes some people to lung injuries are in a nascent stage; however, they have identified that alcohol consumption ranging from moderate to heavy amounts can reach airway passages in the lungs and get metabolized via oxidative and non-oxidative pathways, thereby making the organ prone to injuries.
Previous research also suggested that alcohol created an imbalance in proteins present in the lungs, which further decreased its immunity and increased the risk of developing lung cancer, lung infection or pneumonia.
ARDS is another disease, the risk of developing which can substantially increase due to excessive alcohol intake. Generally, regarded as a medical emergency, the condition causes breathlessness, making it difficult for the oxygen to reach the bloodstream, resulting in death. People with an alcoholic lung disease are twice as likely to develop ARDS compared to people who do not abuse alcohol. Also, presence of any other type of lung condition can complicate alcohol-related lung diseases.
Seeking help in time
Alcoholic lung diseases are preventable conditions and can be kept at bay by monitoring the rate of alcohol consumption. Even though alcohol has become inevitable in celebrations and gatherings, avoiding it can go a long way in keeping an individual protected from its short- and long-term effects. If anybody is suffering from an AUD, he/she should seek immediate clinical help as the condition can be treated with timely medical intervention.
If you are looking for alcohol detox centers in California, contact Sovereign Health’s Detox Services. Our effective and evidence-based alcohol detox programs can help achieve recovery in a safe, comfortable and trigger-free environment. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 682-0103 or chat online with our admissions counselor to get in touch with our alcohol detox clinics in California.