Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing liver disease and cause irreparable liver damage. Alcohol is a major cause of the 25% increase in deaths from liver disease in England over the last decade.

The liver is an important organ of our body that fulfills a purification, synthesis and storage function, in total, it fulfills more than 500 different functions and is considered one of the most important organs of the human body. As with the rest of the organs of our body, what we eat can benefit or harm liver health.

The caloric content of alcohol is 7.1 Kcal per gram of alcohol. Therefore, it is high. Its oxidation causes metabolic disorders if ingested in excess.

The effects of alcohol on the liver

In this article we will talk about the effects of alcohol on the liver.

When we ingest alcohol, the most affected organ is the liver, as it is in charge of metabolizing it. But the liver has a limited ability to absorb and metabolize it.

The AHD enzymes in the liver are responsible for transforming alcohol first into acetaldehyde and then into acetate and other compounds. Being a very slow process, this fluid damages the liver tissues.

Only 20% of the alcohol that is ingested is absorbed into the bloodstream, the rest is taken care of by the liver and to break it down it needs water. But if we consume an excess of alcohol, this organ must take water from other parts of the body since drinking alcohol causes excessive urination. So the result is dehydration.

Diseases triggered by alcohol in the liver

Diseases that involves excessive alcohol intake are the disease of the fatty liver or steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis . An exaggerated consumption of alcohol affects this organ in such a way that it turns it into a fatty liver , which can later lead to hepatitis, go on to cirrhosis and eventually end up developing liver cancer and can cause death, since alcoholic cirrhosis is irreversible and progressive.

All this process is directed because alcohol acts on the liver cells and negatively affects them, reducing their ability to metabolize fats. If this does not occur, the fats will end up accumulating in the liver, affecting the correct blood supply to other cells.

If you have symptoms of fever, yellowing of the skin, swelling of the feet and abdomen, you are suffering from hepatitis. What is an inflammation of the liver.

An alcoholic hepatitis usually ends up generating cirrhosis . In this case, scars are formed in the liver and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, weight loss, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, and internal bleeding are suffered. When suffering from cirrhosis, the blood does not flow normally and this causes the accumulation of waste and toxins in the body that will end up poisoning the body from the inside.

Alcoholic liver disease is one of the most serious medical consequences of chronic alcohol use. Additionally, chronic binge drinking is the leading cause of illness and death from liver disease (alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis) in the United States.

If your habit is to drink excess amounts of alcohol, you should reconsider if you want to take care of your liver and avoid these serious consequences, which are often detected late.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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