Does Anemia Make You Get Drunk Faster?

Does Anemia Make You Get Drunk Faster

Is it possible to get drunk faster when anemic? The consensus is that consuming heavy levels of alcohol can worsen anemia. However, a person’s intoxication level relates to the concentration of ethanol in the blood or blood alcohol level (BAC). 

Anemia shouldn’t shift that percentage enough to intoxicate someone faster than an individual with a standard red blood cell level.

How alcohol is metabolized in the liver, anemia does not affect the systems involved. That would only happen if these were to receive insufficient O2). Does alcohol affect anemia? That’s a different question and a bit more complex. Much of the population drinks occasionally or socially, but a portion indulges more heavily and often. 

Binge drinking is defined as “four or more drinks consumed in roughly two hours routinely. For instance, each day of the week.” That can not only lead to a habit but severe health repercussions, including liver damage and developing anemia. Anemia can be severe, with a person possibly becoming weak with diminished immunity and the potential for heart failure.

While anemia as a condition won’t get you drunk faster when consuming alcohol, heavy amounts of alcohol can lead to a worsened condition of anemia. Let’s look at alcohol and its connection with anemia more in-depth.

Can Alcohol Lead To Anemia?

Alcohol is not always the underlying cause of anemia, but excessive drinking can adversely impact the body leading to the condition. Consuming liquor affects red blood cell production and reduces the bone marrow’s precursor cells, causing a decrease in the development of mature red blood cells. That means there is cellular dysfunction and abnormality.

Because red blood cells become enlarged when heavy amounts of alcohol are consumed, these cells are destroyed more rapidly than normal ones. As a rule, heavy liquor consumption impacts food’s nutrient absorption resulting in “alcohol-induced malnutrition.” That leaves the body deficient in folic acid and iron, each needed for adequate hemoglobin functionality.

When nutrients are not adequately absorbed, red blood cells can’t get oxygen to the vital tissues, ultimately causing challenges with breathing.

Can You Drink Excessively When Anemic?

Alcohol abuse can worsen anemia or even lead to the condition. Some side effects experienced when suffering from alcoholism and anemia include the following:

  1. Resulting in blood cell destruction from inflammation, mood deficiencies, cancer, or heart valve problems
  2. Potential blood loss due to inflammation or ulcers
  3. Diminished red blood cell production

The possibility for malnutrition with heavy drinking 

Does Anemia Make You Get Drunk Faster

When drinking heavily, an individual will likely pay less attention to a healthy diet. That can lead to malnutrition. Alcohol abuse can negatively impact the gastrointestinal system. Diminished nutrient absorption in the intestines prevents healthy red blood cell production from bone marrow.

The liver is challenged

The liver is impacted by alcohol abuse when it develops a fatty buildup. The organ’s functionality is adversely affected by resultant scar tissue and inflammation. When liver disease develops, the body alters red blood cell management. A primary symptom when an individual suffers from liver disease is jaundice associated with anemia and alcohol.

Inflammation and clotting issues associated with anemia in alcoholics

Clotting issues are a common problem associated with anemia from heavy drinking. A lower platelet level is responsible for reducing red blood cells, causing the challenge for the body to form clots leading to things like nosebleeds. What seems like a small problem can quickly result in a life-threatening situation, including a stroke.

When suffering from an upset stomach from consuming excessive alcohol, chronic inflammation can develop, leading to the possibility of ulcers. These won’t heal as they should in each case, causing excessive bleeding and ending in an anemic condition.

What Are Toxic Effects Of Alcohol For Those With Anemia?

When consuming heavy amounts of alcohol, severe toxic effects can result in those suffering from anemia. Those with alcohol use disorder or a tendency to drink heavily must identify the signs in order to get help before worsening the effects of anemia. This can result in the following conditions:


Alcoholism has a direct correlation to macrocytosis. A person abusing alcohol will have poor nutrient absorption within the intestines. When suffering from macrocytosis, the individual will experience the following:

  1. Swollen gums
  2. Diarrhea/constipation
  3. Pale skin
  4. Poor appetite
  5. Numbness of feet/hands
  6. Depression
  7. Confusion
  8. Difficulty concentrating

Hemolytic anemia

Alcoholism has the potential to be linked to certain types of anemia. When suffering from alcohol use disorder, it’s more likely an individual can experience hemolytic anemia associated with binge drinking. This particular type of anemia impacts red blood cells’ shape, ultimately shortening their lifespan. As time goes on, that can cause severe damage.

What Are The Long-Term Consequences Of Alcohol And Anemia?

Consuming liquor over a prolonged period excessively will impact the body with long-term effects. The anemic symptoms of fatigue and weakness could also result in chest pains, irregular heartbeat, and headaches. There will be impacts on the liver, causing yellowing of the skin, and the blood will have issues with clotting.  

In extreme situations, the body will develop dangerous ulcers with the possibility of a life-threatening stroke. With the adverse impact alcohol has on anemic adults, it becomes a hazard for these individuals to consume heavy quantities of the substance.


Binge drinking will get anyone, including an anemic adult, drunk. However, contrary to the misperceptions, an anemic adult won’t get drunk faster than someone with a healthy red blood cell level. However, anyone can become anemic from heavy bouts of drinking due to the toxic way alcohol reacts within the body.

It can not only worsen the condition for someone already suffering from the effects leading to life-threatening circumstances but can cause someone abusing the substance to develop anemia. In either circumstance, drinking heavily for prolonged periods can have adverse reactions for an extended period and potentially endanger an adult’s life.

It’s vital to identify when you’re consuming alcohol at too great a level, especially if you suffer from a severe condition like anemia. The effects of alcohol abuse will severely impact your health putting your life at risk. 

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