Alcohol is a cause of a series of complications and health issues, some of which lead to long-term illnesses and are hazardous for your health in the long term. Alcohol-related liver diseases (ARLD) are caused by excessive drinking habits over a long period of time. Years of alcohol abuse can cause your liver to become inflamed and swollen. Here we provide you an insight into the most possible liver conditions caused due overconsumption of alcoholic substances their common symptoms & how to avoid them.
Common functions performed by the Liver:
The liver is the largest and one of the most important organs of the body, it performs some of the most vital body functions, some of which are:
- It offers protection from infections. Therefore, infections are more frequent if the liver is damaged.
- It serves as the body’s factory for producing the majority of vital proteins.
- It eliminates most toxic substances, drugs, and alcohol from the blood.
- It discharges bile into the digestive tract. In addition to being used to eliminate bodily waste, bile is essential for the digestion of fats.
- It converts excess glucose (sugar) into starch (glycogen), which can be used as a source of energy during times of starvation.
Types and symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease:
There are common four types of liver diseases:
Alcoholic fatty liver disease:
In the case of fatty liver disease, extra fat is stored in the cells of the liver and accumulates up there. This fat accumulation may result from a variety of causes, drinking too much alcohol is one of the main reasons for it. Alcohol disrupts the body’s normal metabolic processes, and some of these metabolic byproducts can combine with fatty acids to generate specific forms of fat that can then accumulate in the liver and cause fatty liver disease.
The common symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver disease are:
- Discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen or sense of feeling full(belly).
- Losing weight or experiencing nausea.
- Pale eye whites and skin colour (jaundice).
- Swelling in legs & abdomen(edema).
- Excessive fatigue & feeling perplexed.
Alcoholic hepatitis is an illness of the liver caused by frequent, heavy drinking that wears down the liver’s tissues.
The common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis are:
- yellowing of the skin & eyes turning pale (jaundice)
- loss of appetite
Due to the accumulation of specific types of proteins on the liver, such as collagen, the liver tissues become scarred causing fibrosis of the liver.
The common symptoms of fibrosis are:
- appetite loss
- difficulty thinking clearly
- fluid buildup in the legs or stomach
- jaundice (where the skin and eyes appear yellow)
- unexplained weight loss
it is the scarring of liver tissues due to the inflammation of the liver over a long period of time. Although liver cirrhosis is a permanently incurable disorder, by continuing to abstain from alcohol, the damage may be reduced or even prevented.
The common symptoms of liver cirrhosis are:
- Easily bleeding or bruising
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in your legs, feet or ankles (edema)
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Fluid accumulation in your abdomen (ascites)
Alcohol consumption is a serious addiction that can lead to a series of irreversible health conditions that you might regret in the long run. Limiting the consumption or choosing to avoid it is a wiser choice you can adopt for.
Treating alcohol-related liver disease:
As such there’s no specific medication for the treatment of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases (ARLD), the only way to get rid of such diseases, in the long run, is to stop drinking alcohol. Refraining from consuming alcoholic substances can further prevent your liver from getting damaged. Alcohol addiction is sometimes extremely difficult to overcome, if you are dependent on alcohol, you might get the requisite advice, support & care from the local de-addiction centres. In severe cases, you might have to go for a liver transplant when the liver ceases to function normally even when you have stopped drinking alcohol. A person awaiting a transplant must not choose to drink alcohol and should completely stop drinking alcohol after receiving a transplant.