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Alcoholic Liver Disease - Know The Symptoms!

Written and reviewed by
MD - Medicine, MRCP - Gastroenterology, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Chandigarh  •  17 years experience
Alcoholic Liver Disease - Know The Symptoms!

The liver performs over 500 functions and is considered to be one of the most important organs in the human body. The functions liver perform include regulating cholesterol and blood sugar, filtering out blood toxins, storing energy and making hormones and proteins. There are many diseases which liver can catch and most prominent being alcoholic liver disease

When a person consumes alcohol in excess, it leads to building up of fats, inflammation and scarring of the liver – which results in alcoholic liver disease.

The damage that occurs due to this disease in the liver can affect the whole body. Since the liver is generally highly effective in repairing and regenerating itself so the damage takes longer to come into notice. It often becomes distinctive by the time the damage is already irreversible.

This disease usually takes place in people between 40 and 50 years of age. This disease is most commonly seen in men. Certain cases have been seen where people may have inherited the risk for the disease.

Liver disease related to alcohol consumption fits into following 1 of 3 categories:

  1. Fatty liver: This takes place due to acute consumption of alcohol. This state is generally reversible if alcohol isn’t consumed.
  2. Alcoholic hepatitis: This is an acute type of alcohol-induced liver injury which takes place when alcohol is consumed excessively over a long period of time. It can lead to liver failure and death as well.
  3. Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by over consumptions of alcohol. It can also occur due to other reasons as well.

Some Facts about Alcoholic Liver Disease

  1. It is the main cause of chronic liver disease in Western nations and the third most common cause of liver transplants.
  2. Staying away from alcohol is the only way to the patient’s recovery.
  3. Jaundice and tremors are the most common symptoms of this disease.
  4. Medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery are some available treatments.

Early signs of the Disease
The early signs of alcoholic liver disease are not much noticeable and affect many systems in the body.

  1. Pain in the abdomen
  2. Nausea and vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Decreased appetite

If these signs are left unattended and the patient continues to consume alcohol, it can lead to a faster damage to the liver.

The symptoms of this disease become noticeable usually during the later stage of liver disease. The symptoms of this disease include:

  1. Jaundice
  2. Edema or swelling of the lower limbs
  3. A build-up of fluid in the abdomen, known as ascites
  4. Fever and shivering
  5. Extremely itchy skin
  6. Clubbing of fingernails
  7. Loss of weight
  8. General weakness
  9. Blood in vomit and stools
  10. Bleeding and bruising more easily
  11. More sensitive reactions to alcohol and drugs

In most patients with the alcoholic liver disease, the illness is not severe. You may not require hospitalization immediately as long you take necessary precaution like stopping the consumption of alcohol, take good nutrition and follow the advice of the doctor. However, in more severe cases, the doctor may be able to suggest the best line of treatment.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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