Understanding Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases
Despite its legal status and widespread acceptance in society – alcohol is a dangerous and potentially deadly drug, and it is important to recognize the enormous harms it can create. Even social drinkers can experience some of the negative impacts of alcohol use, including its toxic effects on the liver.
Even if you occasionally drink, it is essential to be honest with your doctor and other healthcare providers. Your doctor can tell you what to watch out for, so you can take charge of your well-being, including the health of your liver.
Alcohol and The Liver
Alcohol is a whole-body toxin, but some parts of the body are more directly impacted than others. Alcohol use is especially dangerous on the liver, and there is a simple reason why that is so.
The liver serves as the body’s detoxification center, and this vital organ is designed to remove dangerous substances from the blood and body. When heavy drinkers overload their systems with this toxic substance, the liver must work that much harder, and over time the damage continues to accumulate, causing a marked increase in the risk of dangerous liver diseases.
Diseases of the Liver Caused by Alcohol
The chronic use of alcohol can profoundly impact all aspects of the body, from the health of the lungs and the heart to the function of the vital organs. All of those are serious dangers, but the damage can be hazardous and problematic when it comes to the liver.
There are many liver diseases associated with alcohol use, and even non-alcoholics can be impacted. Here are some of the most common alcohol-related liver diseases and conditions.
- Cirrhosis of the liver – Cirrhosis is perhaps the most well-known liver disease associated with alcoholism, and in many cases, it can be deadly.
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease – An accumulation of fat in and around the liver often results from years of heavy drinking, creating all manner of follow-on problems.
- Liver cancer – When the liver is unable to handle the overload of toxins, abnormal cell growth often results, making liver cancer a severe danger.
- Acute alcoholic hepatitis – Alcoholics may develop a particularly serious form of hepatitis, one that requires complicated and expensive treatment and one that can have lifelong consequences.
Each of these alcohol-related liver diseases can be life-threatening in its own right, but alcoholics and other heavy drinkers often suffer from more than one of these conditions. An individual who suffers from cirrhosis may eventually develop liver cancer as well, and the hepatitis patient may also find that they have symptoms of fatty liver disease.
The fact that so many illnesses can result from alcohol abuse makes the importance of getting help that much greater. If you or someone you care about has been struggling with alcoholism or other forms of an alcohol use disorder, it is essential to talk to them about their treatment options, and the staff at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab can help with that difficult discussion.
Symptoms of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
If you or someone you care about has been drinking to excess, it is important to heed the warning signs and watch out for the early symptoms of liver disease. Some of the most common symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease include:
- Jaundice – a yellowing of the skin is a clear indicator of alcohol abuse.
- Lethargy and tiredness – Extreme fatigue can be an early warning sign of alcohol-related liver disease.
- Loss of appetite – Those suffering from liver damage may lose the desire to eat, resulting in rapid weight loss and further sapping their strength.
- Increased thirst – If you are drinking more water than usual, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Increased thirst can be an early warning sign of liver disease.
- Abdominal pain – Belly pain, tenderness and discomfort can be warning signs of underlying liver disease. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of these issues.
Treatment for Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases
Alcohol can have a devastating impact on the body, and especially on the liver, but the damage does not have to be permanent. When caught early, all of these diseases can be treated, many of them quite effectively.
Treatment for alcohol-related liver diseases may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to address liver cancer, specialized medications to treat hepatitis, and most importantly, stopping the alcohol use that has been fueling the problem in the first place. If you are concerned about your drinking and the resulting liver damage, talk to your doctor – and call the staff at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab right away.
Alcohol Detox and Rehab at WhiteSands
The continued use of alcohol can have a terrible impact on the body, and especially the liver, but you do not have to live with the danger, or your alcoholism, a day longer. When you pick up the phone and give WhiteSands a call at 877.969.1993, our caring counselors will get to work, designing a treatment plan just for you, one that addresses not only your drinking but any underlying health concerns as well.
Getting sober can be a struggle, but dealing with your drinking’s long-term consequences will be even worse. You could head off the worst of your potential health problems by acting now, so pick up the phone and contact us today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.