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If you think you can get away with regular consumption of alcohol, you’re highly mistaken. Alcohol can slowly and steadily damage your liver and can even cost you your life. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation of the liver, giving rise to a condition called ‘alcoholic hepatitis.’ Sadly, in some instances, people who consume alcohol even in moderate quality can also be affected with this disease.
In India alone, 40% of individuals who have alcoholic hepatitis die within six months of experiencing symptoms.
Therefore, it is significant to understand the repercussions of alcohol abuse on the liver.
The liver is an essential organ of the human body. Its primary role is to convert food and drinks to beneficial nutrients, thereby helping in digestion by producing bile. It also filters poisonous and harmful substances, such as alcohol and drugs, from the blood.
Every alcoholic drink like beer, wine, whiskey has an element called ethyl alcohol or ethanol, the only type which is suitable for human consumption. Even though ethanol is consumed by millions worldwide, it is still harmful for the body. It affects the central nervous system, causing a lapse in judgment and coordination, thus bringing about intoxication.
Excessive and regular alcohol consumption can affect the liver in two ways: acute hepatitis and chronic liver disease. Acute hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to alcohol consumption. Long term alcohol consumption can cause alcohol-related fatty liver, which may progress into NASH. Over time, there is scarring of healthy liver tissue. The condition is known as cirrhosis or irreversible scarring.
This leads to liver failure, and the patient may require a transplant.
This may progress into:
Another extreme condition like hepatic encephalopathy might also arise. Toxins generally filtered by the liver end up in the bloodstream, which in turn, causes brain damage and coma.
Below are a few risk factors associated with alcoholic hepatitis:
Medical practitioners suggest the following to conclude a diagnosis:
This requires stopping alcohol consumption altogether. Alcohol must be replaced with a healthy diet filled with vitamins. Sometimes, the only shot at survival for a patient is a transplant.
Many times people who are alcoholic or consume it in higher quantities may not even realize their condition, until it’s too late. And getting a transplant done is not so easy. It takes immense waiting time to find a matching donor. Moreover, alcohol abuse not only affects the person physically and mentally but also their loved ones, leading to a lot of trauma and healthcare costs. Hence, avoiding alcohol consumption is the most healthy way of life.