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The Effects of Alcohol on Your Liver

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
Updated On

Liver ImageWhile there is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol in moderation, those who go overboard often times find this having a negative impact on their health.

As the second largest organ in your body, the liver performs many functions. From processing food into energy to removing harmful substances from your blood, healthy performance is important to the well being of your body.

Alcohol and your Liver

It is scientifically proven that alcohol can destroy or damage healthy liver cells. One of the primary responsibilities of the liver is to break down alcohol so it can be removed from the body. When you drink more than your liver can process, it can become damaged or injured. As a result, you may face a variety of liver related diseases including:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis

Alcohol damage to the liver does not happen overnight. Instead, the effects accumulate over time, often times starting with fatty liver disease and eventually leading to alcoholic hepatitis and then cirrhosis.

The Impact

If you find yourself facing an alcohol-related liver disease, the complications can be serious to your health. These commonly include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Enlarged spleen
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver cancer
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • High blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Brain disorders

Treatment Options

The best way to deal with alcohol-related liver disease it to never be faced with this situation in the first place. To protect against this, you should only drink alcohol in moderation.

If you are diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease, you will need to avoid alcohol in the future to keep your problem under control. Along with this, a healthy diet is essential. There are dietary changes you can make to improve your chance of recovering from this type of disease.

In some of the most advanced cases of cirrhosis, a liver transplant is often times necessary.

As you can see, alcohol can have a negative effect on your liver, as well as many other parts of your body. Alcohol-related liver disease is not something that occurs after a couple of drinks, but many years of heavy consumption can lead to this problem.

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