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Saturday, May 2, 2009

FAQs on Alcohol and Liver Diseases

Are Men or Women more likely to get Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Do all alcoholics get liver diseases? Is there any connection between alcohol and its effects on liver? Most people are confused about the relationship between alcohol and the liver. Research revealed that there is much misunderstanding on this subject.

Does Alcohol cause Liver Disease?

Yes, but it is only one of the many causes, and the risk depends on how much you drink and over how long a period. There are more than hundred different liver diseases. Known causes include viruses, hereditary defects, reactions to drugs and chemicals.

Are there dangers from Alcohol besides the amount that is consumed?

Even moderate amounts of alcohol can have toxic effects when taken with various drugs, such as Tylenol. If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, be especially careful about drinking and don't use an alcoholic beverage to take your medication. Ask your doctor about precautions for prescription drugs.

What kind of Liver diseases are caused by Alcohol?

Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that lasts one to a few weeks. The symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and tenderness, fever, jaundice and sometimes confusion. It is believed to lead to alcoholic cirrhosis over a period of time. Cirrhosis involves permanent damage to the liver cells. "Fatty liver'' is the earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease. If the patient stops drinking at this point, the liver can heal itself.

How can Alcoholic Hepatitis be diagnosed?

Alcoholic hepatitis is not easy to diagnose. Sometimes symptoms are worse for a time after drinking has stopped than they were during the drinking episode. While the disease usually comes on after a period of fairly heavy drinking, it may also be seen in people who are moderate drinkers. Though blood tests may help in diagnosis, a liver biopsy is the way to establish the incidence of the disease. This involves taking a tiny specimen of liver tissue with a needle and examining it under a microscope. The biopsy is usually done under local anesthesia.

Can "social drinkers" get Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Unfortunately, yes. Alcoholic hepatitis is frequently discovered in alcoholics, but it also occurs in people who are not alcoholics. People vary greatly in the way their liver reacts to alcohol.

Are Men or Women more likely to get Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Women appear to be more likely to suffer liver damage from alcohol. Even when a man and woman have the same weight and drink the same amount, the woman generally has a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood because she has relatively more body fat and less water than the man.

Do all Alcoholics get Alcoholic Hepatitis and eventually Cirrhosis?

No, some alcoholics may suffer seriously from the many physical and psychological symptoms of alcoholism but escape serious liver damage. Alcoholic cirrhosis is found among alcoholics about ten to fifteen percent of the time.

Is Alcoholic Hepatitis different from "Fatty Liver"?

Yes. Anyone who drinks alcohol heavily even for a few days will develop a condition in which liver cells are swollen with fat globules and water. This condition is called ``fatty liver.’’ It may also result from other causes, such as diabetes, obesity, certain drugs or severe protein malnutrition. Fatty liver caused by alcohol is reversible. It disappears after drinking of alcohol is stopped.

Does Alcoholic Hepatitis always lead to Cirrhosis?

It may be fatal, especially if the patient has had previous liver damage. Those who have had nutritional deficiencies because of heavy drinking may have other ailments. These medical complications may affect almost every system in the body. It is important to recognize and treat alcoholic hepatitis early, so that these life-threatening consequences are prevented.

How can Alcoholic Hepatitis be treated?

The most essential thing is to stop consuming alcohol. Treatment may also include prescribed medication good nutrition and rest. The patient may be instructed to avoid various drugs and chemicals.

Since the liver has considerable ability to heal and regenerate, the prognosis for a patient with alcoholic hepatitis is very hopeful.

Is Cirrhosis different from Alcoholic Hepatitis?

Yes. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. In cirrhosis, normal liver cells are damaged and replaced by scar tissue. This scarring keeps the liver from performing many of its vital functions.

Thus, there is a relationship between alcohol and liver diseases so the best way to keep away is to stay away from alcohol.


Keywords: Effect of Alcohol on Liver, Hepatitis, Alcohol & Hepatitis, Alcohol & Liver Diseases, Liver Diseases, Alcohol and Liver, Liver Cirrhosis, Fatty Liver,

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