When the liver becomes damaged and the cause is related to alcohol, this condition is known as "alcoholic liver disease" or "alcoholic hepatitis". This condition should not be confused, however, with cirrhosis of the liver as cirrhosis is a specific condition that is primarily caused by alcohol but can also occur due to other medical conditions or diseases of the liver.
Alcoholic hepatitis is typically used to describe a variety of multiple symptoms or conditions that occurs during the beginning stages of alcoholic liver disease and damage that occurring to the liver can be potentially reversed when an individual stops consuming alcohol. When an individual has reached the stage of alcoholic liver disease, typically the liver has been damaged intensively.
The Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Disease
The liver is responsible for over five hundred functions of which most are essential to the human body for sustaining life. In the first stages of alcoholic liver disease an individual may be asymptomatic – meaning that they will not have any noticeable symptoms – until the disease has progressed to "alcoholic fatty liver disease", hepatitis, or the final stages of alcoholic liver disease which is " cirrhosis ". These symptoms may include:
• Having pain or tenderness in the abdominal area.
• Chronic fatigue.
• Having a dry mouth or excessive thirst.
• Unexplained weight loss.
• Having nausea or a loss of appetite.
• Jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes or skin).
• Mental confusion.
The Stages of Alcoholic Liver Disease
"Fatty liver disease" occurs in the beginning stages of alcoholic liver disease and can develop even when consuming alcohol for only a period of a few days due to the fact that alcohol causes the build up of fatty acids within the liver.
At this stage of alcoholic liver disease, there is typically no symptoms that are noticeable and this condition can be reversed when the consumption of alcohol has been ceased for a period of approximately two weeks.
When the disease has progressed to the second stage – hepatitis of the liver – the liver tissues have become inflamed from the extensive use of alcohol, however, this condition can also occur after an individual has partaken in a form of "binge drinking". While this is a more serious type of liver damage, it can also be potentially reversed when the consumption of alcohol has been ceased for a period of several months or it may take a few years.
When an individual has developed cirrhosis of the liver, this is the final stage of alcoholic liver disease and can be a life threatening condition. Cirrhosis of the liver is the condition in which the liver has developed scar tissue due to the prolonged period of time that inflammation has occurred from alcohol consumption.
This scarring is irreversible and will cause the adverse of liver functioning with the severing depending upon how extensively this scarring has damaged the liver. In serious cases, this condition can lead to liver failure.
While this condition is irreversible, further damage can be preverted if the individual immediately ceases their consumption of alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease and the number one cause of cirrhosis of the liver; therefore, if you have a problem with alcohol abuse, it is essential that you seek professional help for your addiction.