Chronic Disease

Alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs have been linked to a greater likelihood of developing a chronic disease, or worsening the symptoms of an existing chronic disease.

For example, drinking more alcohol than is recommended can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, because regular drinking can lead to an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle and irregular heartbeat [23505][34712]. This can then result in heart attack or stroke. Alcohol also has also been linked to various cancers such as liver cancer, stomach cancer, or bowel cancer. In addition, alcohol is also a risk factor for liver disease, including alcoholic hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis and fatty liver.

Tobacco use has also been linked to many chronic diseases [23505][31577]. Cigarettes contain a number of harmful chemicals which have been connected to various chronic diseases, including:

  • cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke)
  • cancer (of the lungs, mouth, lips, throat, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney and bladder)
  • lung disease (asthma and bronchitis)
  • type 2 diabetes.

The use of some illicit drugs have also been linked to increased likelihood of developing a chronic disease [23505]. For example:

  • cannabis and lung disease/heart disease
  • stimulants (amphetamines or cocaine) and heart attack, stroke or endocarditis.


Key resources



Feeding the Family Pets by Brian Robinson

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