Did you know....
Women are more prone to liver damage from drinking alcohol than men?
If you must drink…
Alcohol-induced liver disease, as the name implies, is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol and is a common but preventable disease.
There are three stages of alcohol-induced liver disease including the following:
Fatty liver (Stage I)
Fatty liver is excessive accumulation of fat inside the liver cells. This is the most common alcohol-induced liver disorder. The liver is enlarged, causing upper abdominal discomfort on the right side.
Alcoholic hepatitis (Stage II)
Alcoholic hepatitis is an acute inflammation of the liver, accompanied by the destruction of individual liver cells and scarring. Symptoms may include fever, jaundice, an increased white blood cell count, an enlarged, tender liver, and spider-like veins in the skin.
Alcoholic cirrhosis (Stage III)
Alcoholic cirrhosis is the destruction of normal liver tissue, leaving non-functioning scar tissue. Symptoms may include those of alcoholic hepatitis, in addition to portal hypertension (leading to blood vomiting), enlarged spleen, ascites, excessive bleeding (due to poor clotting), kidney failure, confusion, or liver cancer.
Specific treatment for alcohol-induced liver disease will be determined by your physician based on the stage of the disease and your acceptance to give up alcohol.
The goal of treatment is to restore some or all normal functioning to the liver. Treatment usually begins with abstinence from alcohol.
In Stage I of fatty liver, and early stages of alcoholic hepatitis (Stage II), merely abstaining from alcohol should control and even cure the problem to a large extent. The liver has great restorative power and is often able to repair some of the damage caused by alcohol. However, the only damage it cannot reverse is scarring from cirrhosis. Once cirrhosis is established (Stage III), the disease will inevitably progress. However, the rate of progress is slowed down markedly with alcohol abstinence.
Once advanced cirrhosis sets in, complete abstinence from alcohol and liver transplant is the only option.