Alcohol Liver Disease, Damage-Symptoms, Treatment


Alcoholic liver disease is a serious physical condition that may turn fatal. Alcoholic liver damage occurs mostly due to alcohol abuse or taking too much alcohol. The condition may result out of consistent use of alcohol in higher quantity for several years. Usage of alcohol may also lead to hepatitis which is a condition wherein swelling of liver as well as inflammation is experienced. This physical issue may then cause scarring of the liver which may gradually develop to Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is said to be the most advanced or final and most critical stage of alcoholic liver disease.

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It should also be understood that alcoholic liver disease may be common in some families wherein members share similar medical characteristics. However, though it may result out of long term alcohol abuse, it may not affect all alcoholics but many. It is not necessary that if you intake heavy dose of alcohol the disease may develop. Since, women may have weaker physical traits than men it is believed that women are more prone to alcoholic liver disease as compared to men. It is also studied that people who intake alcohol very frequently are not able to obtain nutrients through healthy food, thus poor nutrition may add to the affects of alcohol causing alcoholic liver damages. In some cases acute hepatitis may result out of splurge drinking that is five drinks for male drinker and four drinks for female drinker. Acute hepatitis should not be take lightly as it is also life threatening.

Alcoholic liver disease symptoms

The symptoms of alcoholic liver damages may depend on the severity of the condition. These symptoms may be mild or nondescript initially, but through the course of time it may gradually worsen to severity. The symptoms of such liver disorder may also be insidious. There are many cases wherein the patient did not learn about the prevalence of the liver disorder until the condition turned severe. However, here are some symptoms that may help you determine the occurrence of the disease.

• Tenderness in stomach

• Ache in abdomen

• Weariness

• Dryness of mount or augmented sensation of thirst

• Jaundice

• Reduced appetite

• Queasiness

• Edema, formerly referred to as dropsy (build up of fluids) in legs {Seen in case of Cirrhosis}

• Ascites (Accumulation of fluid in stomach) {Seen in case of Cirrhosis}

• Dramatic loss in weight

Alcoholic liver damage- Skin related symptoms:

• Abnormal shade (darkness or lightness) on the skin

• Redness or roseola on the skin at hands and legs

• Small red blood vessels similar to tiny spider can be seen on the skin

• Paleness of skin and eyes (incase of jaundice)

• Yellowish color on mucus membrane (in case of jaundice)

Blood related symptoms of Alcoholic liver disease:

• Bloody or dark black feces

• Bleeding from the nose

• Slight bleeding from gums

• Vomiting blood

• Vomiting other substance that looks like coffee ground

Alcoholic liver disease- brain as well as nervous system related symptoms:

• Agitation

• Mood swings

• Tingling or numbness experienced in arm or legs

• Legs or arm pain

• Reduced concentration or difficulty in paying attention

• Reduced or poor judgment ability

• Slow movement

Other nervous system or brain related symptom is confusion which is also scientifically referred to as ‘encephalopathy’ wherein periods of reduced awareness is experienced. In case of encephalopathy even hallucination can be experienced. The condition may also hinder memory power causing impairment in short term or long term memory. Other symptoms that may occur in case of alcoholic liver disease are, engorged chest (breast development) in case of men, experiencing faintness specially while rising up or standing, etc.

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Alcoholic liver disease – Diagnosis

There are certain examinations and tests that may help in understanding the reason of occurrence of alcoholic liver damages. Here are some important tests suggested in case of Alcoholic liver disease.

• CBC test or Complete Blood Count test

• Liver Biopsy

• ALP or Alkaline phosphatase test which is suggested for checking liver functionality

There are some tests that also reduce the affliction or eliminate disease. These tests may include.

• CT scan or computerized tomography scanning is also suggested to people with alcoholic liver disease

• Blood test for determining causes of liver issues

• Ultrasound imaging of abdomen

Treatment for alcohol liver damage

The alcoholic liver disease treatment starts with cessation of alcohol intake, as it is the most important part of the treatment. Without cessation of alcohol it becomes impossible to treat the condition as it may keep progressing with supply of toxicants to the affected area. In case your liver disorder has not progressed to cirrhosis yet, there are good chances of getting cured of the illness faster after stopping alcohol usage.

Rehabilitation:

In most cases alcohol rehabilitation centers have showed significant results. These rehabilitation centers eradicate the patient’s access to alcohol. This is important to break the victim’s alcohol addiction. Specific medications are given to the alcoholic in order to provide nutrition to the body and soothe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Read more about alcoholic rehabilitation

Nutrition:

There are nutritional drugs and strategized diets that are suggested by doctors in case of alcoholic liver disease. Certified health care professionals may suggest people to rely on food that are rich in calories. This helps in improvement of liver and built up of damaged portions during regeneration process. Diets of such individuals are also supplemented with vitamins as well as food minerals.

According to nutritionists, alcoholic liver disease patients should take diet that is rich in protein. It should be eaten more frequently, approx 5 to 6 small meals during the day instead of 3 big meals. Supporting the liver with nutrients will help in improving liver functionality.

Antioxidants:

It is also said that alcoholic liver diseases may take place through development of oxidants. In such a case administration of antioxidants may help in counteracting oxidants. Some health care professionals also suggest natural antioxidants such as milk thistle, etc, to the patients.

Transplant:

When alcoholic liver damage is severe and no other treatments have helped, then liver transplant is the only remaining option. However, there are seldom liver donor hence obtaining a liver is difficult and one may have to wait a lot (even for months) to obtain liver in any hospital as the waiting list is usually longer.

Rather than struggling with coping the disease later it is better to be treated initially. The best thing is to take precautions by avoiding excessive intake of alcohol; this will help in preventing alcoholic liver disease.

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