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Liver » Liver Transplant

Alcoholic Liver Disease- Unravelling How Heavy Drinking Can Kill You

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Alcoholic liver disease is an umbrella term. It involves all the liver manifestations that arise from excessive drinking. Alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, and fatty liver, to name a few, are one or the other element of an alcoholic liver disease.


How Does Excess Alcohol Lead to Liver Damage?

80% of the alcohol you drink passes through the liver and gets detoxified. However, chronic heavy drinking leads to increased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.

These cytokines cause inflammation of your liver. Increased inflammation will cause fibrosis, and the continued scarring of liver cells will lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is irreversible and renders the organ completely useless, obstructing its regular detoxification and nutrient absorption functionalities tremendously.

Of all the chronic drinkers with a high appetite for alcohol, only about 15% to 20% develop hepatitis or cirrhosis. The cause behind alcoholic liver disease pathophysiology and why only a small number of heavy drinkers acquire the disease isn’t very clear at present.

Alcoholic Liver Disease Symptoms

In the early stages of this liver attacking condition, the symptoms are quite generic. You might feel a loss of appetite, weight, and energy. You could feel fatigue, abdominal pains, nausea, and palm redness.

As the scarring of your liver cells will progress, the symptoms will take a more violent form, appearing more frequently. The following conditions might appear along the alcoholic liver disease stages.

  • Jaundice or the yellowing of eyes and skin.
  • Ascites or fluid buildup in the abdomen.
  • The web-like appearance of blood vessels near the skin.
  • Swollen chest and shrunken testicles in men.
  • Easy bleeding and bruising.
  • Pale colour of stool.

Risk Factors for Alcoholic Liver Disease

Drinking, of course, is the biggest factor that increases the chances of you falling in the traps of an irreversible, untreatable liver condition. Other risk factors involved are mentioned here.

For a man, about 75 to 100 ml alcohol consumption per day for twenty years increases the chances of fibrosis and hepatitis. For women, 25 ml per day does the job.

People prefer to drink with meals mostly. Drinking outside of meals triples the risk of alcoholic liver diseases in people.

Alcoholic liver diseases affect women quickly than they affect men. It’s why their consumption parameters are on a higher alert level than that for men.

The difference in the effect of alcohol on the female liver can be explained by considering that women have more body fat and that their menstrual cycle affects the fat absorption in their bodies.

Say, you get infected with Hep C along the way or already suffer from it, it will accelerate the rate of liver worsening in your body.

For monozygotic twins, the chances of getting an ALD is higher than it is in dizygotic twins.

A deficiency of Vitamin A and E prevents the regeneration of liver cells (hepatocytes.) if an alcoholic or an ALD affected person has these particular lacks, it could worsen the damage to their liver.

Timely Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholic Fatty Disease Is Essential

Alcoholic liver diseases affect your health in stages. If diagnosed in time, treatment can save your organ. Also, a diagnosis can help you understand the ways in which you can prevent further damage and protect your liver.

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  1. Kishan May 04, 2017 02:15 pm

    Very helpful, got a lot of important info here, would like to know about my uncle's health, his Billirubin level is 3.5, need your opinion??

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