Alcoholic Liver Disease
LIVER-Being the largest organ in our body, it plays an important role in various metabolic processes. Alcohol can harm the liver and affect its functions. The frequency of alcohol-related diseases and fatalities has increased over time.
How is alcohol related to the liver?
The liver is the largest and most important organ that performs about 500 activities every day, including bile production, detoxification of various toxins, protein metabolization, vitamin and mineral storage, and many more. The liver functions as a filter, processing everything we eat and drink, including alcohol.
Drinking alcohol stresses our liver, which leads to dehydration, scarring, and alcohol-related liver disorders, even when there is no family history of such diseases.
Alcohol consumption now affects an increasing number of people, particularly young adults. Alcohol-related liver disorders are observed more in people who binge drink.
Alcohol-related liver disorders might manifest themselves in the following stages, with some overlap:
Alcoholic fatty liver
This is the initial stage of liver damage, which usually results from excessive drinking. Fat accumulation results in liver enlargement, further impairing the liver's ability to operate. By quitting drinking, alcoholic fatty liver disease can be reversed.
Long-term alcohol use can cause the liver to become inflamed, which can cause the liver cells to degenerate. It is a life-threatening condition that can seriously harm the liver. By identifying the situation and discontinuing alcohol before the situation gets bad, alcoholic hepatitis can be reversed. To recover, one must receive the right treatment.
Cirrhosis is fibrosis (permanent scarring) of the liver tissues. This is the last stage of alcohol-related liver disease, where the liver damage is irreversible, but can still be stopped from further damage if detected early. The harm, however, cannot be reversed. The risk of liver failure is higher in cirrhotic patients.
What are the signs and symptoms of alcoholic liver disease?
Most people assume that all people react the same way to alcohol. However, this is not the case. Gender, body weight, metabolism, other psychological aspects, nature of work are all factors that influence alcohol effects. If you consume alcohol and experience any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:
People usually ignore the early warning symptoms of liver impairment and continue to consume alcohol. In some cases, liver damage or illness indications are not visible until it is too late and causes irreversible damage to the liver.
How can alcoholic liver disease be treated?
In addition to the clinical examination, the doctor will enquire about past and current alcohol use. Being truthful is crucial when responding to questions. A doctor may sometimes discuss the drinking habits with the family members. The doctor may suggest examinations such as a blood test, liver function test, CT,MRI, and liver biopsy (if required). The following treatments are available for alcohol-related liver diseases:
Abstinence from Alcohol
Alcohol intake must end, and therapies, including counseling and alcoholic rehabilitation programs, are advised to treat withdrawal symptoms.
A special diet is recommended to address malnutrition and boost vitamin and mineral intake.
Medications will be advised after thorough screening and in accordance with the disease stage.
To prevent fatality, liver transplantation is advised for high-risk individuals who have not responded to any treatments.
Is Liver transplant good option for alcoholic liver diseases?
A diseased liver is replaced with a healthy liver from another person (donor) during the liver transplant procedure. For individuals with end-stage liver disease, liver transplant surgery can be a life-saving treatment, improve quality of life, and reduce fatality risk. Abstinence from alcohol is the most critical factor in being an eligible recipient for a liver transplant.
How can alcohol-related liver disease be prevented?
Early detection with the right treatment is the most effective way to prevent alcoholic liver damage. A few lifestyle modifications are usually a good idea:
- Getting rid of alcohol completely
- Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine
- Quality time spent with family and friends
- Getting counseling or taking part in rehabilitation programs
- Smoking reduction
- Seeking medical attention after noticing the first symptoms
- Having regular health checkups
Avail Liver Health Checkup Package at Medicover Hospitals Medical Gastroenterologist
Alcohol can reduce life expectancy. People believe that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial to their health. But, no rule exists stating how much quantity is considered safe. However, even modest alcohol usage is not without risk. Patients with alcohol-related liver damage should avoid alcohol completely. Hence, think twice before you drink.