Have you wondered “How does alcohol affect the liver”? Have you worried about your liver health? Well! The problem might be worse than you thought.
Do you know that our liver is affected by everything we ingest? And alcohol isn’t an exception. Since only a small amount of alcohol is detoxified in a period of time, an excess consumption of this drink can cause many harmful effects on the liver, kidney, heart, brain and other parts of the body.
How does alcohol affect the liver? Well! When entering your body, alcohol directly goes through your stomach and intestine, then penetrate to the bloodstream. Here, it’ll be distributed immediately throughout the body and damage every cell that it meets on the road. However, that isn’t all …
How Does Alcohol Affect The Liver?
#1. Short-Term Effects
When alcohol reaches our liver, it produces a toxic enzyme known as acetaldehyde (CH3CHO). As a high content, this enzyme can damage the liver cells, which leads to health problems, such as fatty liver. More seriously, it can trigger inflammation or cirrhosis.
If we drink too much alcohol, normal liver functions will be interrupted, which results in a chemical imbalance. Once penetrating our body, alcohol works as a diuretic and dehydrates you. So, the liver is ordered to pursuit water from the other sources. This severe dehydration is one of the reasons why you have a whopping headache after a night of drinking.
Because of ethanol – the main ingredient of alcohol, our liver has to over-work to convert it into Acetic Acid (CH3COOH). This process produces a large number of toxins which can divert our liver from its major functions, like glucose release.
An excess shortage of glucose or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) will lead to hangover, lethargy, lowering cognitive functions or putting up with vomiting, serious headaches, dizzy and fatigue. Luckily, these are just short term effects.
#2. Long-Term Effects
They’re much more terrible! They take a heavy toll on the overall function of our liver. In addition to eating fatty food, drinking excessive alcohol causes all liver diseases, including:
- Alcoholic hepatitis – the first stage of alcoholic liver
- Fatty liver – the result of a long-term excess alcohol absorption
- Fibrosis – the formation of scar tissue happening when the connecting tissues are thick
- Cirrhosis – the chronic disease caused by cell degeneration and advanced fibrosis
- Liver cancer – the most serious disease caused by the formation of a malignant tumor
Although our liver is an astonishingly resilient organ, which means it can recover the normal function even when losing 70% its mass, it easily catches cirrhosis. This is also a death knell for the liver as it causes waste and toxin accumulation or even a complete shutdown by obstructing the flow of bloodstream. The cirrhosis symptoms are often only visible once it develops to a serious stage, and may happen simultaneously or gradually.
How Will Your Body Change If You Catch A Liver Disease?
Here are some clear symptoms when you catch a liver disease. You can refer them to check your body. If you find any of them in your body, I strongly recommend you to see your doctor as soon as possible.
#1. Acute Liver Damage
There will be a fever and sclera (the white parts of your eyes). The skin will have a yellowish discoloration. In most cases, these symptoms can be self-limiting.
Exceptionally, these can progress to liver failure and then lead to coma, blood clotting or secondary infections, and even require a liver transplant.
#2. Chronic Liver Damage
The symptoms appear more gradually:
- Yellowish discoloration of sclera and skin
- Swelling in the legs or feet caused by low protein levels
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts) in a male
- Reddish spider (spider nevi) underneath the skin, especially the chest area
- Ascites (fluid stored) in the abdomen
- Blood problems such as blood vomiting or blood in stools
- Change in behavior
- Confusion or forgetfulness
Some Tips To Keep Your Liver Healthy
After looking at the symptoms and consequences of liver diseases, I think you now understand how vulnerable your liver is. So, let read these tips to keep it healthy!
Adjust Your Diet and Alcohol Consumption
A low-fat diet is ideal for a healthy liver. Alcohol should be avoided. If you can’t resist drinking, you should consume red or white wine because these wines can control your blood pressure, enhance blood flow or lessen inflammation. But, you should drink in moderation!
#2. Do Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise offers not only your liver but also your whole-body benefits:
- Improve your strength
- Prevent lots of diseases
- Control a large amount of cholesterol
- Bring you a fit body
#3. Eat Healthy and Clean Foods
Consuming unclean food will spread hepatitis A&E. Both these diseases do serious harm for your liver and can cause several complications. Thus, you’d better think over before having junk food as well as unfiltered water. Besides, remember to drink boiled water and have a good filter in your water system.
#4. Have A Periodic General Check-Up
Prevention is better than cure! Getting a periodic health check-up is the best way to prevent every disease. In case you’re diagnosed with a liver disease, bear in mind that you ought to follow the treatment strictly and regularly. Reversible damages will become irreversible if you neglect it.
#5. Do Not Self-Medicate
Using cough syrup may help you deal with throat problems. However, taking medicines arbitrarily in a long time can extremely destroy your health. In any unusual circumstance, go to a doctor immediately.
I hope that our post can help you gain a deep knowledge of alcohol and answer the question “how does alcohol affect the liver?”. After all, please keep in mind that it may satisfy you a moment but can damage your liver as well as your body seriously in your whole life.
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