Alcoholic hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to the use of alcohol.

Although this disease is characteristic of people who drink excessively for many years, the relationship between liver inflammation and drinking is complex.

Not all people who consume large amounts of alcohol develop the disease and it can also occur in those who drink in moderation.

If the disease is diagnosed, you should stop drinking alcohol.

And people who continue to drink alcohol are at very high risk of serious liver damage and death.

What are the symptoms?

Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes /jaundice/ and increased body circumference due to the accumulation of fluids are the most characteristic signs of the disease , which force people to seek medical help:

• Loss of appetite;
• Nausea and vomiting;
• Abdominal pain and tenderness;
• Weight loss;

All affected by the disease suffer from malnutrition.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol suppresses the appetite, and alcoholics get most of their calorie needs in the form of alcohol.

The clinical manifestations of the severe form of the disease are:

• The retention of large amounts of fluid in the abdominal cavity /ascites/;
• Confusion and changes in behavior due to damage to the brain due to the accumulation of toxins /encephalopathy/;
• Kidney and liver failure ;

When to seek medical help?

Alcoholic hepatitis is a serious disease and about 35% of people who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol develop it. And more than 1/3 of them die within 5-6 months after the diagnosis of the disease.

Seek medical help if you develop any of the symptoms of the disease, and if you cannot stop drinking alcohol, seek specialist help to reduce the risk of liver damage.

What are the causes?

The disease is a result of liver damage due to alcohol use. Exactly what amount, however, is not clear, since not all alcoholics develop the clinical condition.

What is known is that ethanol, which is an ingredient in beer and spirits, produces highly toxic chemicals such as acetaldehyde.

These chemicals cause inflammation that destroys liver cells.

Over time, a network of scars and small tissue nodules replace healthy liver tissue, disrupting the organ’s normal function.

These irreversible scars called cirrhosis are the final stage of alcoholic liver disease.

The risk of its development increases with the passage of time and the amount of alcohol consumed.

It is undisputed that excessive use of alcohol is a cause of the development of inflammation of the liver, but since many people who drink too much alcohol do not develop the disease, it is assumed that there are other factors that cause it, such as:

• Other liver disease;
• Malnutrition;
• Obesity;
• Gene mutations – some genes affect the metabolism of alcohol and can increase the risk of developing liver disease;


Treatment of alcoholic hepatitis

• Stop using alcohol – this is the only way to possibly reverse liver damage or, in more advanced cases, possibly prevent the progression of the disease.

Many people who stop drinking alcohol see dramatic improvement after just a few months;

• Your treating doctor may recommend a special diet to overcome nutritional deficiencies.

You can also consult a nutritionist who will evaluate your current diet and suggest changes to include a more varied diet that contains the vitamins and nutrients that your body is deficient in. of the patient with alcoholic hepatitis.

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