Alcohol-Related Liver Disease or ARLD is when the liver becomes inflamed and swollen due to years of alcohol abuse. If a person with ARLD continues to consume alcohol or mistreat his liver in other ways, it will most likely lead to scarring (fibrosis), known as cirrhosis. As cirrhosis progresses, more and more scar tissues form, making it difficult for the liver to function at full capacity.

Liver diseases usually lead to life-threatening situations because they typically do not show any pronounced symptoms. People generally dismiss these symptoms as ‘not-serious’, not realizing that these symptoms could be due to underlying liver diseases. In most cases, even after the damage has progressed to cirrhosis, there are no symptoms!

Stages of ARLD:

The symptoms people experience depend on the stage the disease has progressed to. 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 starts deteriorating its functions. At this stage, ARLD can be cured by quitting alcohol intake.
  2. Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis: Continued alcohol abuse despite having an alcoholic fatty liver causes the liver to swell at this stage. Sometimes, this damage is reversible. In severe cases of alcoholic hepatitis, it leads to liver failure.
  3. Alcoholic Cirrhosis: This is the most severe form of ARLD, and the damage cannot be undone. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis can lead to liver failure treatment

Symptoms of ARLD:

  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

Treatment of ARLD:

There are two objectives when people start treatment for ARLD. The first objective is to help stop the affected individual from consuming alcohol, and the second goal is to improve their liver health.

The treatment for ARLD could include the following.

  1. Alcoholic rehab program: These programs are meant to help people stop drinking when they cannot do so on their own
  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. Many people with ARLD are vitamin A-deficient too
  3. Liver transplant: Affected individuals might need to undergo a liver transplant surgery  if cirrhosis has caused irreparable damage to their liver

These supplements must never be taken with alcohol. Vitamin-A supplements and alcohol can be deadly. These supplements do not cure any liver disease but rather avoid any malnourishment caused by the disease.

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Suppose you or any of your family members are showing any symptoms related to underlying liver disease, you or they must be taken to a hospital immediately. Even without symptoms, it is mandatory to make some lifestyle changes, and if you consume alcohol, keep it to a bare minimum. It is advisable to get yourself treated at any liver hospital regularly to detect any liver diseases in the early stages.

We invite you to visit Chennai Liver Foundation, a well-known liver hospital in Chennai, to assess your liver disease needs