Illustration of human liver

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Heavy drinking causes alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD), which causes extreme damage to the liver cells. Over the years, constant alcohol abuse scars the liver tissues, resulting in ARLD. This, left untreated, leads to Liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage of ARLD.

Doctors define heavy drinking as approximately eight alcoholic beverages per week for women and fifteen for men. Alcohol-related liver disease is just the tip of the iceberg among the diseases caused by alcohol intake. Constant drinking can even result in liver failure, which is fatal.

Stages of Alcoholic Liver Disease:

The stage of the disease determines the symptoms you experience. There are mainly three stages of ARLD:

  1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver: This is the first stage of ARLD, where fat accumulates on the liver and blocks its functioning. One of the many ways to cure ARLD at this stage is to quit drinking alcohol altogether.
  2. Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis: Continued alcohol abuse despite having an alcoholic fatty liver causes swellings on the liver in this stage. These swellings could result in one of the two significant outcomes, which depend on the severity of damage caused to the liver. Sometimes, this damage is reversible, while in severe cases of alcoholic hepatitis, it leads to liver failure.
  3. Alcoholic Cirrhosis: This is the most severe form of ARLD, and we cannot reverse the scars caused on the liver. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis leads to liver failure. You will need to undergo a liver transplant.

Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Disease:

In most cases, people do not show any symptoms in the earlier stage. The symptoms become more evident as the disease advances.

These symptoms include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Fatigue
  4. Jaundice
  5. Increased thirst
  6. Abdominal discomfort
  7. Swelling in legs and abdomen
  8. Weight loss
  9. Colour changes in the skin
  10. Fainting
  11. Excessively agitated behaviour
  12. Mood swings
  13. Bleeding gums
  14. Gynaecomastia

These symptoms may show up more often after binge drinking.

Treatment of Alcoholic Related Liver Disease

The treatment for ARLD could include the following.

There are two levels of treatment for ARLD. The primary goal is to stop consuming alcohol, and the secondary goal is to improve liver health.

  1. Alcoholic rehab program: This will help you quit drinking, slowly reversing the damage caused to your liver.
  2. Multivitamin tablets: Patients with alcohol abuse syndrome have a vitamin B complex deficiency. So it becomes essential to provide the body with the vitamins to revive liver health.
  3. Liver transplant: You might need to undergo a liver transplant surgery if cirrhosis has caused irreparable damage to your liver.

It is vital to note that we should never take vitamin pills with alcohol. Only people who have stopped drinking can consume these drugs.

These nutritional supplements do not cure any liver disease but avoid any malnourishment caused by the illness.

Contact Us:

Alcoholic liver disease, in most cases, doesn’t show any evident symptoms in the beginning stages. So it is mandatory to make some lifestyle changes and keep your drinking under check. It is advisable to get yourself treated by best gastroenterologist in chennai regularly to detect any liver diseases in the early stages.

Visit us at Chennai Liver Foundation, a well-known liver hospital in Chennai, to assess yourself for any liver disease.