Effects of Alcohol on the Liver

The liver is one of the most vital organs in the body. Among the many daily functions of the liver, the most significant is its ability to detoxify the blood, evacuating toxins that we consume daily. The liver is also capable of regeneration; it can develop new cells each time the liver filters alcohol. 

 However, alcoholic toxicity, when taken in large quantities, tends to accumulate faster than the liver can treat. This invariably causes damage to the liver. If you have questions about your liver, our physicians may be able to provide resources and information. Your general health is the number one priority of AFC Urgent Care North Bergen.

Symptoms of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases

It is challenging to assign symptoms to alcohol-related liver diseases. Trying to determine whether your liver is healthy or sick is quite difficult because the liver doesn’t hurt or indicate severe pain when you drink excessive alcohol.

Most liver diseases are, however, discoverable during regular check-ups with a medical doctor.

When the liver is severely damaged, symptoms may be in the form of loss of appetite, significant weight loss, drowsiness, periods of confusion or poor memory, vomiting blood or passing blood in stools, and jaundice (yellow skin).

How does alcohol affect the liver?

There are various stages of alcohol-related liver diseases. These stages envisage the range between short-term and long-term effects of alcohol on the liver.

Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease produces an accumulation of fat in the liver cells. Usually, this does not cause complaints. In physical examination, the liver feels enlarged. At this stage, there is no irreversible damage if drinking is stopped on time.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis happens when the liver becomes inflamed. The indirect toxicity of alcohol can cause severe damage or even death to liver cells, possibly resulting in death. 

The damage can still repair itself if alcohol drinking is stopped in time. However, suppose drinking is not stopped quickly at this stage. In that case, the acute inflammation of the liver can eventually lead to death due to additional complications.

Fibrosis

If hepatitis has been around for a long time, the liver cells will produce scar tissue or connective tissue (fibrosis). This tissue is located around the liver cells, leaving less room for the blood vessels in the liver. This hinders blood flow and causes high blood pressure in the liver.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Drinking alcohol in high doses usually leads to cirrhosis of the liver. It results in the formation of fibrous tissues, which causes the liver to harden, preventing the liver from performing its normal function.

This liver failure causes serious health problems in the person concerned. Such a person will need medical treatment and may require a liver transplant. 

Chronic alcohol consumption remains associated with many liver damages, including cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and cancer, to name but a few.

To try and treat liver disease, speak with your physician on the best practices. Some ways include:

  • Stop drinking 
  • Improving diet, as alcohol consumption can lead to malnutrition
  • Get all the necessary vitamins.

So, eat well to help recover your liver and take vitamins, such as thiamine, which helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy.