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WLD 2022: The liver is most affected when large amounts of alcohol are consumed in a short period of time

Alcoholic cirrhosis: This is the last and most severe form of alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The liver is injured and its function is severely impaire
WLD 2022: The liver is most affected when large amounts of alcohol are consumed in a short period of time
Alcoholic cirrhosis: This is the last and most severe form of alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The liver is injured and its function is severely impaired.

Credit: News9live.com


The liver is the second most complex organ in our body after the brain. It helps digest food, filter toxins and break down drugs, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and fight infection and disease. This organ is the main site of ethanol (alcohol) metabolism. Although excessive drinking damages almost all organs, the liver is the first and most severely affected. The World Health Organization estimates that 33 million people have died from alcoholism worldwide and the number is increasing.The link between excessive alcohol consumption and liver disease is well established. A unit of measure called the "drink standard" is used to determine excessive drinking. This corresponds to a drink with 14 grams of pure ethanol. The number of alcoholic beverages that are standard drinks are as follows:


The most important factor that determines the occurrence of liver disease is the amount and pattern of drinking. Alcohol consumption of 40-80 ml per day for men and 20-40 ml for women over 10-12 years predicts the development of severe liver disease. Excessive drinking - Consumption of large amounts of alcohol in the short term can lead to early liver damage. The pattern of alcohol-related liver damage occurs in three stages: Alcoholic fatty liver: This is the first stage and occurs after years of heavy drinking. Excess fat accumulates in the liver and interferes with its function. If you stop drinking, it is completely reversible. Acute alcoholic hepatitis: This is a serious condition that results from inflammation of the liver, leading to rapid liver damage. The outcome depends on the degree of liver damage and can lead to liver failure.


Alcoholic cirrhosis: This is the last and most severe form of alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The liver is injured and its function is severely impaired. Damage at this stage is permanent and irreversible. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and death. Other common causes of liver disease include infections (hepatitis B and C viruses), drugs and toxins, and some genetic and metabolic disorders. A worrying development in recent years is the epidemic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here, the accumulation of fat in the liver is accompanied by inflammation and gradual liver damage, which eventually leads to cirrhosis. Early detection and treatment can reverse liver disease or slow the progression of cirrhosis. Once cirrhosis is diagnosed, the process is irreversible. Patients begin to experience symptoms such as jaundice, leg swelling, fluid buildup in the lungs and chest, gastrointestinal bleeding (vomiting or black stools), loss of muscle mass, and significant weakness. Cirrhosis can affect kidney, brain and lung function, causing serious complications that can be fatal. Liver cancer can also develop in cirrhosis and the outcome is poor if not caught early. Medical treatment for cirrhosis includes limiting salt and water intake (reducing swelling of the legs and abdomen), medications to reduce the risk of bleeding, and endoscopic treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding. As liver disease worsens, medical treatment options become more limited and less effective. A liver transplant is a surgical procedure in which a patient's damaged liver is repaired and replaced with a healthy donor liver. The donor can be a family member with the same blood type who agrees to donate part of his liver (Linked Live Donor) or a corpse donor where a brain-dead liver donor is used to replace a diseased liver. Liver transplantation is a serious surgical procedure and requires significant resources from the patient and carries some risks of serious complications. If you or a family member has a drinking problem, call your doctor. Let us remember that the liver is a very forgiving organ, but once liver damage occurs, the quality of life is severely affected.


All Article Credit: News9live.com (The author is a consultant gastrointestinal and liver transplant surgeon at Jaslok Hospital) 

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