Liver Diseases: Effects of Alcohol

Three out of four liver diseases is completely avoidable. Among the effects of alcohol are major and life-threatening liver diseases. Nearly fifty percent of those who undergo or receive liver transplant are frequent alcohol drinkers while ten percent of them are severe alcoholics. A few major effects of alcohol on the liver are the following:

First is fatty liver that can be entirely avoided or reversed when the patient stops or refrains from drinking. A fatty liver can however worsen into alcoholic hepatitis, a chronic liver inflammation, where a patient continues drinking. It can further worsen into jaundice, fever as well as abdominal pain and conditions like cholecystitis or inflammation of the gall bladder. Alcohol hepatitis can be fatal when detected late and may need perilous surgery or transplant.

Cirrhosis is the most serious of all the alcohol related illnesses. The disease happens when scarred tissue develops on the liver until no blood is able to flow through the vessels. The liver shrivels and hardens thereby destroying the organ’s very function which is to cleanse the body of certain waste. While there maybe progression from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis and finally cirrhosis, the latter can happen without passing through the former. Transplant is the only solution to this disease without which the alcoholic hepatitis as well as cirrhosis become frequent causes of mortality.

Alcohol related liver disease can likewise develop into liver cancer. The sheer amount of alcohol in alcoholics can lead to the development of the said disease. The leading causes of cancer of the liver the world over are Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) as well as Hepatitis C (HCV). Patients who don’t undergo transplant when the problematic liver has failed to screen the disease usually die.

Alcohol detox or abstinence from alcohol is the lone standard therapy or treatment which follows a successful transplant or treatment of the liver. Other factors like dietary habits as well as use of tobacco can be used as determinants of success rate aside from liver issues. For liver transplant, individuals who screen applicants for such procedure have the unenviable task of picking through candidates and deciding who among them is likely to benefit the most from the said procedure. It is but a waste of time and effort when the recipient plainly continues to drink heavily where the transplant will just delay the unavoidable onset of worse disease and eventually death.