The effect of alcohol on the liver

About the liver and alcohol you can say a lot. All alcoholic drinks in the first place to destroy this body. They lead to serious and severe diseases which are often incurable. In this article, we looked at how alcohol affects the liver, what liver diseases can develop with excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Why is the liver that suffers

Once in the gastric cavity, spirits are rapidly absorbed into the blood. From there they go straight to the liver. In this organ is the metabolism of alcohol. Thanks to the enzymes produced by the liver, is neutralizing the alcohol.

Gradually the possibility of the liver decrease simple words, it "wears out". It start to happen irreversible processes. Cells, hepatocytes are destroyed and replaced by fatty tissue.

The exact quantity of alcohol necessary for liver injury, scientists have not known, it is considered individually for each person. According to research, it was found that daily consumption of alcohol, even in minimal doses, can lead to liver failure.

What liver disease can develop

Systematic abuse of alcohol can lead to a large number of liver diseases both acute and chronic. Most of them are poorly treatable.

Women are more likely to toxic alcoholic liver damage. Also the fairer sex is more likely to occur the dependence on alcohol, they drink too much faster.

Below are the hepatic pathology which may be provoked by alcohol.

Steatosis of the liver

This disease is not acute. Few years, it may not manifest absolutely no symptoms and clinical signs. Due to continuous use of alcoholic drinks, the liver cells gradually replaced by fatty tissue. This liver damage is more likely with overweight or suffering from obesity.


  • the feeling of discomfort and heaviness in the right hypochondrium;
  • frequent nausea and vomiting;
  • staining of the skin;
  • loose stools, dysbacteriosis development;
  • increased flatulence;
  • blurred vision, the fall of its severity.

Above symptoms, the person may the years not to pay attention, referring to "a bad environment and weather." With continued drinking, the disease can go into liver failure and cirrhosis.

Alcoholic hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis can be acute or chronic. The doctors compared it with viral hepatitis, as he observed no less serious liver damage. He begins to develop slowly and gradually, people for 5-10 years may not pay attention to him, and the resulting symptoms attributed to some other problems. Listed below are the characteristic signs of this disease:

  • Gradual and unexplained weight loss. While a person lost appetite, reduced working capacity, there is a strong weakness, fatigue.
  • Heartburn and belching with a sour taste, which is enhanced after taking alcohol, or eating fried or fatty foods.
  • Frequent or constant nausea, may develop episodes of vomiting. Person periodically worried about the pain in my stomach.
  • Nagging, intermittent pain in the right hypochondrium.
  • Ikterichnost (yellowing) of eyes, or mucous membranes. At the transition of the disease in the acute stage, all yellow skin, can appear unbearable itching.
  • On palpation determined enlarged liver in size, it protrudes from under the costal arch.


Cirrhosis is the most unfavorable liver disease, which is incurable. First, it occurs without a pronounced clinical picture, the symptoms resemble alcoholic hepatitis. With the progression of liver damage, begin to see the following signs:

  • heaviness in the right hypochondrium;
  • the appearance of vascular "stars" in the upper torso;
  • pain in the statutes;
  • itching of the skin;
  • the tendency to bleeding gums, fragility of blood vessels;
  • ascites.

Most often, patients with cirrhosis die due to the development of bleeding from esophageal varices.

Cirrhosis of the liver has acute liver failure. Its background can develop encephalopathy, hepatic coma. All of these States have a poor prognosis.

Alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis can lead to the development of cancer of the liver. Only early detection of these pathologies and termination of the person drinking may protect against liver cancer.

What to do if you have symptoms of liver disease

With the development of the slightest suspicion on liver pathology, a person must immediately stop the consumption of alcoholic beverages, if necessary, this can be done with the help of experts, anonymous support groups. You then, without hesitation, to go to the doctor. This may be a GP or a hepatologist.

To identify the liver disease, you will have to pass a detailed examination. With its help, the doctor can diagnose,to identify the degree of damage of liver tissue and to appoint the appropriate individual treatment.

Examination in cases of suspected liver damage includes the following laboratory and instrumental methods:

  • Biochemical blood test for bilirubin, ALT, AST, protein fractions and alkaline phosphatase. These markers show functional status of the liver and the presence of the inflammatory process.
  • Ultrasound of the liver allows to estimate its size, the homogeneity of the structure.
  • Coagulation – a blood test that can identify irregularities in blood clotting.
  • A detailed General analysis of urine. Thanks to him you can see the presence of inflammation, the presence of anemia.
  • Elastography of the liver on the device "Fibroscan" can accurately determine the condition of that organ, to diagnose cirrhosis.
  • Blood tests for viral hepatitis is needed to exclude these diseases. As the clinical picture of alcoholic and viral hepatitis do not differ, you need a laboratory to identify the causes of the pathological process.

Please note that patients infected with viral hepatitis are more prone to alcoholic liver. When this viral disease is strictly prohibited to drink alcohol even in small quantities.

Systematic use of alcohol adversely affects the liver. The defeat of this body may be slow and asymptomatic for a long period of time. At the first signs of liver pathology need to stop drinking alcohol and seek medical help. The doctor will examine, prescribe the necessary examinations, after which start the treatment. But if you continue to use patient alcohol treatment will be ineffective, liver disease will progress.