Everything is good when taken in moderation. Even alcohol taken in moderation has its own benefits but it turns in evil while over drinking alcohol becomes your habit.
Overdrinking not only spoils your health but the life of people you love who loves you and everyone around you. Overdrinking can lead to alcoholic liver disease.
Know more about damages that overdrinking does.
What is alcoholic liver disease?
Alcoholic liver disease is common, but can be prevented. There are 3 types. Many heavy drinkers progress through these 3 types over time:
- Fatty liver. Fatty liver is the build-up of fat inside the liver cells. It leads to an enlarged liver. It’s the most common alcohol-induced liver problem.
- Alcoholic hepatitis. Alcoholic hepatitis is an acute inflammation of the liver. There is death of liver cells, often followed by permanent scarring.
- Alcoholic cirrhosis. Alcoholic cirrhosis is the destruction of normal liver tissue. It leaves scar tissue in place of the working liver tissue.
The liver is a large organ that sits up under the ribs on the right side of the belly (abdomen). The liver:
- Helps filter waste from the body
- Makes bile to help digest food
- Stores sugar that the body uses for energy
- Makes proteins that work in many places in the body, for example, proteins that cause blood to clot
What causes alcoholic liver disease?
Alcoholic liver disease is caused by heavy use of alcohol. The liver’s job is to break down alcohol. If you drink more than it can process, it can become badly damaged.
Fatty liver can happen in anyone who drinks a lot. Alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis are linked to the long-term alcohol abuse seen in alcoholics.
Healthcare providers don’t know why some people who drink alcohol get liver disease while others do not. Research suggests there may be a genetic link, but this is not yet clear.
What are the symptoms of alcoholic liver disease?
The effects of alcohol on the liver depend on how much and how long you have been drinking alcohol. These are the most common symptoms and signs:
- Often causes no symptoms
- Build-up of fat inside the liver cells enlarges the liver, causing upper abdominal (belly) discomfort on the right side
- Tiredness and weakness
- Weight loss
- Pain over the liver
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
Alcoholic cirrhosis, all of the symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis and:
- Portal hypertension (increased resistance to blood flow through the liver)
- Enlarged spleen
- Poor nutrition
- Bleeding in the intestines
- Ascites (fluid build-up in the belly)
- Kidney failure
- Liver cancer
The symptoms of alcoholic liver disease may look like other health problems. Always see a doctor for a diagnosis.
How is alcoholic liver disease diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will do a complete health history and physical exam. Other tests used to diagnose alcohol-induced liver disease may include:
- Blood tests. Including liver function tests, which show whether the liver is working the way it should.
- Liver biopsy. This involves removing small tissue samples from the liver with a needle or during surgery. These samples are checked under a microscope to find out the type of liver disease.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high frequency sound waves to create a picture of the organs.
- CT scan. This imaging test uses X-rays and a computer to produce images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
- MRI. MRI uses a magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to make detailed pictures of internal body structures. Sometimes injecting dye into a vein is used to produce images of body parts. The dye helps show the liver and other organs in the abdomen (belly).
Treatment For Liver Disease And Alcoholism
Many forms of liver damage can be reversible if you stop drinking or take other steps.
- Fatty Liver disease –Reversible with abstinence
- Alcoholic Hepatitis –Reversible with abstinence
- Cirrhosis –Abstinence is helpful; however, it is usually fatal due to secondary complications. These can include kidney failure or hypertension in the vein carrying blood to the liver. It could stabilize with abstinence but is case-by-case sensitive.
- Liver Cancer –Same as cirrhosis
If you have an alcohol addiction and symptoms of liver damage, it’s important to find help as soon as possible.
Between 15% and 30% of heavy drinkers are diagnosed with cirrhosis each year, but the majority of those with this disease survive if they seek treatment for their addiction. Despite this, between 40% and 90% of the 26,000 annual cirrhosis deaths are alcohol-related.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, contact a treatment provider to find a rehabilitation center today.