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Grasping the bigger picture of alcoholic liver cirrhosis

Grasping the bigger picture of alcoholic liver cirrhosis

December 08 | By Rachael

Alcohol is one of the major risk factors that causes numerous health complications and premature deaths. However, alcohol is not the only the precursor for several diseases, but also one of key substances responsible for causing several injuries and violence. Due to the increase in the number of fatal overdoses and deaths, the enormous burden of alcohol has fallen heavily on individuals, society and the economy.

A number of social, cultural and environmental factors may incite one toward alcohol. Easy accessibility, increased acceptability, genetic predisposition, etc. are some of the relevant factors that cause alcohol dependence, which, in turn leads to liver cirrhosis, cancers and other forms of injuries.

Liver—one of the crucial organs responsible for expunging toxins and other harmful substances before circulating it to the rest of the body—is the most affected by alcoholism. Here, we discuss the crippling impact of alcohol on the liver:

Chronic and unhealthy patterns of drinking cause alcoholic liver cirrhosis

Also known as the largest internal organ in the human body, the liver has about 500 different roles. It helps in breaking down the food particles into energy, as well as supporting the body to discard toxins and defeat infections. When a person is involved in peculiar drinking habits, it perturbs his or her system.

The liver is the primary organ that witnesses numerous complications over time due to the chronic use of alcohol. The extensive use of alcohol is associated with an elevated risk of progressing toward numerous liver diseases, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), hemochromatosis, etc.

The American Liver Foundation estimated that about 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers are likely to develop cirrhosis during the course of their life. As a result of the excessive intake of alcohol, the liver fails to handle glucose that eventually breaks down into fats and result in a fatty liver. Being one of the advanced form of liver diseases, alcoholic liver cirrhosis usually progresses from fatty liver disease to alcoholic hepatitis and then to alcoholic cirrhosis.

The symptoms of alcoholic liver cirrhosis may typically arise when a person advances toward his or her late adulthood, particularly between the ages 30 and 40. Gradually, the symptoms become more distinct when the disease advance with time. Some of the main symptoms of alcoholic liver cirrhosis include jaundice, portal hypertension (increases blood pressure in the vein that travels through the liver) and skin itching (pruritus).

Warning signs of alcoholic liver cirrhosis

Since women have fewer enzymes than men in their stomachs to break down the particles of alcohol, they are more vulnerable to alcoholic liver cirrhosis. Besides gender, genetics and other environmental factors play a crucial role in increasing the risk of developing alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

While some people are born with flawed enzymes that are required to break down the particles of alcohol, some have a history of having hepatitis C that increases the likelihood of getting trapped by the disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, patients with severe alcoholic liver cirrhosis who have gone through a liver transplant have a five-year survival rate of around 70 percent.

Furthermore, practitioners can detect alcoholic liver cirrhosis by scrutinizing a person’s lifestyle and history of drinking. It can cause grievous complications, including:

  • Ascites (buildup of fluid in the stomach)
  • Encephalopathy (mental confusion)
  • Internal bleeding (also known as bleeding varices)
  • Jaundice

Shun alcohol to have a healthy liver

Alcohol liver cirrhosis is a serious condition that requires proper treatment. The first step toward recovery from such a severe condition is to understand one’s drinking habits and stop them as early as possible. Those with alcoholic liver cirrhosis are often so dependent on alcohol that they could experience severe health complications if they try to quit cold turkey.

Besides causing the aforementioned troubles associated with liver damage, excessive alcohol intake after a certain age is also associated with the issues related to the skin, weight, fertility, etc. Moreover, other problems like depression, anxiety, mood disorder, violent behavior, increased unprotected sex, etc. are quite common.

If you or your loved one is fighting alcohol addiction, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help for guidance on the best facilities offering alcohol treatment in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online to know about the alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.