Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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Alcohol-related liver disease is as the name describes; damage caused to the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. In the early stages it can be treated and overcome. However, when it reaches cirrhosis, it could mean the damage has become irreversible.
Every time alcohol is consumed, the liver has to filter it in order to break it down and remove it from the body.
Some liver cells die during this process, which is why the liver needs a break from alcohol to allow it to regenerate and make new cells.
When a person chooses to continuously drink for an extended period of time, the liver is not able to recover with damaging results.
Alcohol-related liver disease (ALRD) may ensue which could become irreversible.
ALRD occurs in any of these three stages:
- Fatty liver
- Alcohol-related hepatitis
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Cirrhosis is a gradual condition where the healthy tissue of the liver is increasingly replaced by non-functional scar tissue.
In the early stages cirrhosis produces few symptoms, however, as it progresses, they will become increasingly severe and visible.
The most prominent signs of liver failure can be found on the skin, which bruises or bleeds more easily when disturbed.
The build-up of toxins that the liver is supposed to filter from your blood can cause itching and irritation.
Jaundice is caused by one of these toxins, bilirubin, which turns your skin and eyes yellow as it builds up.
Jaundice causes the skin and eyes to be discoloured with a yellowish look to it.
If liver damage goes untreated this can have dire consequences.
If you experience any of the characteristic symptoms of liver damage, such as jaundice, consult a doctor immediately.
Cirrhosis can also result in kidney failure, as the kidneys have to take on a greater role in filtering toxins from the blood.
A failing liver can also damage the lining of the stomach causing blood to appear in your vomit or stool.
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