Contributed by: Rachana Arya
As the name implies, alcohol liver disease (ALD) is an abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver due to alcohol dependence and/or drinking a large volume of alcohol. This may begin to develop after a “threshold” dose of alcohol has been consumed over the years, leading to the replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue.
A diagnosis of liver disease due to alcohol overindulgence can be worrying and you may have a lot of questions. In this article, we will explore some frequently asked questions Learn about alcohol-related liver disease and the damage that mild-to-excess alcohol stress can do to your liver.
FAQ #1: How does the disease occur?
The liver is an extremely robust organ and has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself. However, a limit exists for what it can do. Each time your liver filters alcohol, it leads to the death of some of the liver cells. The liver can regenerate new cells, but long-term alcohol abuse can impair its ability to do so. This can result in permanent damage to the liver.
FAQ #2: Can alcoholic fatty liver be reversed?
Several factors influence whether or not alcohol-induced liver damage can be reversed. One thing is clear, regardless of the degree of the harm, the first step is always to stop drinking.
FAQ #3: Is it possible to restore the liver functioning completely?
Fortunately, if you have alcoholic liver disease, it is possible to heal the liver and reverse the in its early stages. The single and most important thing you can do to protect your liver is to abstain from all forms of alcohol to help your liver cells heal and regenerate. Following a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate the risk of further damage.
FAQ #4: What are the earliest symptoms of liver damage from alcohol?
The range of clinical features of alcoholic liver disease varies from person to person. Along with a general feeling of being unwell, some non-specific symptoms of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) include:
- Pain and tenderness in the abdomen
- Dry mouth
- Increased thirst
- Decreased appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
FAQ #5: What are the distinctive signs of late-stage liver disease?
Once ALD progresses, it becomes easier to recognize its symptoms. Patients with end-stage liver disease may present symptoms that include:
- Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling and/or redness in legs and ankles
- Itchy and dark skin
- Dark urine colour
- Pale stool colour
- Chronic fatigue
- Dry retching
FAQ #6: What are the stages of alcohol-related liver disease?
Alcoholic liver disease is characterized by three stages of liver damage following chronic alcohol abuse, which includes:
- Alcohol fatty liver disease
- Alcoholic hepatitis
FAQ #7: Can ALD be left untreated?
Most people often wait until severe liver scarring and permanent tissue damage before consulting a physician. Dismissing the early signs of ALD and continuing to consume alcohol, can lead to a faster progression of liver disease.
FAQ #8: Are there any noticeable indications that your liver is struggling?
Damage to the liver can take a long time to manifest because the liver is uniquely capable of regenerating itself. As the disease progresses, the damage is frequently irreversible.
FAQ #9: Can Alcohol liver disease (ALD) be asymptomatic?
The majority of patients with ALD may be asymptomatic for decades. Others may manifest features like mild right upper quadrant discomfort (RUQ).
FAQ #10: Why do alcoholics get fatty liver?
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is due to overindulgence of alcohol. Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink, in an attempt to protect the body from damage. The more amounts of alcohol you consume, the harder your liver has to work hard processing it. Over time, the process of breaking down the alcohol can be taxing for the liver and can lead to damage.
FAQ #11: Should you abstain from alcohol for a few days before a liver function test?
Some blood tests, such as those that examine liver function or triglyceride levels, may require you to abstain from drinking alcohol for the whole 24 hour period. Having said that, it is important to remember that quitting drinking – just to “pass the test,” will not make the condition go away. The purpose of the liver function test is to determine whether or not you have liver damage and, if so, how serious it is.
FAQ #12: Can you still consume alcohol with a fatty liver?
Patients suffering from the condition are generally recommended not to consume any alcohol to mitigate the risk of further liver damage.
FAQ #13: What drinks are recommended to detox the liver?
Water is the best flushing agent. One of the best ways to get rid of toxic in the body is to drink turmeric tea – a potent drink that helps in natural cleansing and detoxification of the liver.
FAQ #14: How is alcohol liver disease diagnosed?
- Blood tests
- Liver function tests
- Liver biopsy
- CT scan
FAQ #15: What are the Ayurvedic herbs that can help treat ALD?
The active ingredients of many natural herbs can not only treat liver disease but also promote the overall well-being of the liver. The most commonly recommended herbs to detoxify the liver and protect it from the damage of alcohol are:
It can be reasonably concluded that the mainstay of the treatment of alcoholic liver disease is quitting alcohol. So, before you pick up the next glass of alcohol, pause and reflect upon the silent damage of your liver functionality with each passing day.
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