The Impact Of Alcohol On Your Liver


Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava



After the brain, your liver is the most complex organ in the body that is responsible for more than 500 important bodily functions like filtration of toxic substances from your blood, production of bile for digesting fat, and regulating blood glucose levels. 

You need to keep the liver healthy to protect your body from a slew of life-threatening diseases. This article aims at helping you comprehend the prevailing causes of liver complications and how you can manage them. 


Types of alcohol-related liver disease

Alcoholic fatty liver diseases (AFLD)

AFLD is also known as hepatic steatosis. Regular alcohol consumption leads to the accumulation of fat in your liver which obstructs its functioning. The condition usually develops if you are a regular drinker for a long time or have other health complications like obesity and high blood pressure. To manage the disease, you primarily need to stop drinking, take measures to lose weight, and make healthy lifestyle changes.


Symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver disease

                      • Jaundice
                      • Inflammation and painful sensation in the stomach
                      • Reduction in the desire to eat
                      • Unintentional weight loss
                      • Diarrhea 
                      • Irritating skin


Prevention/management of alcoholic fatty liver disease

                      • Stop consuming alcohol or limit the intake
                      • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes
                      • Try to maintain a healthy body mass
                      • Increase the intake of green vegetables
                      • Incorporate a diet low in fats and carbohydrates
                      • Keep a regular check on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels


Acute alcoholic hepatitis

Alcohol ingestion leads to the production of toxic chemicals in your liver that harm the liver cells. Alcoholic hepatitis is a serious liver condition that is caused due to long-term consumption of alcohol (including frequent binge drinking) and leads to inflammation of the liver. If the condition is not diagnosed and managed at an early stage, it can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver failure.


Symptoms of acute alcoholic hepatitis


                      • Jaundice
                      • Less hunger
                      • An unexpected loss of weight
                      • Frequent episodes of fever
                      • Trouble concentrating
                      • Abdominal pain
                      • Stomach inflammation
                      • Vomiting & nausea
                      • Constant fatigue


Prevention/management of acute alcoholic hepatitis


                      • Complete stoppage of alcohol consumption
                      • Protect yourself from blood-borne diseases like Hep B and C
                      • Don’t share a toothbrush, nail cutter, or any other personal hygiene essentials
                      • Avoid engaging in unprotected sex


Alcoholic cirrhosis

Alcoholic cirrhosis is a condition in which consuming alcohol over a long period scars the healthy tissue of your liver and cannot be reversed like other ARLD conditions. However, lifestyle changes and certain treatments can help you manage alcoholic cirrhosis and lead a productive life. 


Symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis


                      • Jaundice
                      • Increase in blood pressure
                      • Irritating skin
                      • Brain function complications
                      • Swelling in stomach and legs


Prevention/management of alcoholic cirrhosis


                      • Stop alcohol consumption
                      • Implement healthy lifestyle changes


Diagnosis of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)

You are now aware of the types of alcohol-related liver diseases, their symptoms, and what preventions you should take to manage the condition. However, to control or reverse the effects of the disease, it is important to identify the seriousness of the illness. 

Here are some of the common diagnostics that your doctor can suggest to determine the seriousness and the type of ARLD:


  • Blood tests: Blood tests help detect whether or not your liver is producing enzymes like lipase (helps in the fat breakdown), protease (helps in protein breakdown), and amylase (helps in sugar breakdown for energy) that aid in bodily functions. Some common blood tests include:


    • Complete blood count: A complete blood count or CBC helps in determining your total blood cell count. An increase or decrease in your blood cell count can help in determining your liver health.
    • Liver function test (LFT): A liver function test or LFT helps in estimating the levels of enzymes like proteins and bilirubin produced by the liver. An increase or decrease in these enzymes helps in ascertaining your liver health.


  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan: CT scan is the method of creating cross-section images of the liver on a computer screen. Doctors observe these high-quality images to establish the facts about the condition of the liver.


  • Ultrasonography: An ultrasound scan is the most common method of diagnosing liver complications. In this method, a real-time image of your internal organs is created on the computer screen that a doctor observes to identify the complications.


  • Liver biopsy: A liver biopsy is a process in which a small amount of your liver is surgically removed to analyze the cause of the complication. This diagnostic procedure is generally recommended in case of cirrhosis or liver cancer.


Treatment of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)

The treatment of ARLD aims to improve your liver health. Your doctor can recommend the following:


  • Undergoing rehabilitation to stop your habit of alcohol abuse


  • Consumption of multivitamins as alcohol ingestion causes a deficiency of B-complex vitamins and vitamin A that can increase the risk of malnutrition or anemia



Note: Combination of vitamin A and alcohol is deadly


In conclusion


You now have all the critical information about alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD). Reading about the symptoms can help you in ascertaining the type of ARLD, along with the necessary precautions, diagnosis, and treatments to manage the condition. 

Did you find this blog informative and get what you were looking for? Tell us in the comments if you want any additional information in regards to liver complications.


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