The holiday season has finally arrived with plenty of parties and gatherings with friends and family over delicious meals and a few drinks. It is no secret, that alcohol consumption during the holidays increases drastically. This holds especially true for Christmas and New Year parties.
However, drinking alcohol can lead to intoxication which can be the root cause of numerous bad decisions and health problems.
Did you know drinking can affect your liver? That’s right, though your liver can handle drinking small amounts of alcohol, drinking too much at any given time or drinking more than your liver cells can process can take a toll on your health.
Alcohol produces a toxic enzyme, acetaldehyde. When it reaches the liver cells, it can cause permanent scarring, damage to your brain and stomach lining. When alcohol infiltrates your system, it dehydrates your body and forces the liver to find water from other sources. This dehydration is one of the reasons why you get a hangover the following day. Along with this, there are many other long-term ailments which can damage the liver, continue reading to discover.
Fatty Liver Disease
If you drink too much, fat can build up in your liver. This can lead to inflammation and fatty liver disease. Though you can also develop fatty liver symptoms due to diabetes, poor diet, high cholesterol, lack of exercise, unhealthy weight and heart disease, if you are overweight and drink alcohol it increases your chances. The shocking truth is that even just drinking copious amounts of alcohol for a few days can build-up fats in the liver. The good news is this disease is reversible. If you abstain from alcohol for two weeks, it should return to normal.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Causes
Long-term excessive drinking can lead to alcoholic hepatitis. This condition results in swollen and tenderness of the liver. In case you already have fatty liver caused by alcohol and continue drinking, you are drastically increasing the odds of developing alcoholic hepatitis. If you are a heavy drinker, this condition can worsen into cirrhosis. However, if you chose to reduce alcohol intake or quit altogether, your liver will recover slowly over the passage of weeks or months, but residual cirrhosis will remain.
What Causes Cirrhosis of the Liver?
Liver cirrhosis symptoms develop when the liver cells get damaged and replaced by scar tissue due to chronic inflammation. This is the result of fatty liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis, access consumption of alcohol, drug and the abuse of harmful substances. Scar tissue affects the circulation of blood and other fluids through the liver. This vital organ cannot function optimally without a good flow. Additionally, the reduction in liver cells causes it to become hard. If you are recklessly going to continue alcohol abuse, you will risk severe damage and accelerate your chances of liver cancer or even death.
Viral Hepatitis and Alcohol Abuse
Unfortunately, if you are suffering from hepatitis B or C, drinking can lower the effectiveness of your treatment. It is vital to know alcohol is utterly damaging to your liver if you do not drink in moderation. The more you avoid alcohol, the better you will be able to respond to treatment and maintain your liver health. Since alcohol reacts differently in people’s body’s, it is essential to pay close attention to your liver, especially if you are suffering from liver cancer symptoms or scarring, in which case it’s best to give up drinking altogether.
4 Ways to Love Your Liver
If you must drink, then drinking in moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy liver. Try these nifty tricks to help you limit the intake:
- Combine your preference of wine with plain mineral water.
- Mix your favourite beer or stout with lemonade.
- Avoid parties or celebratory occasions where drinking will be an issue.
- Choose a low-alcohol drink or better yet try a fruit cocktail or even a mocktail. Mocktails are equally delicious fruity alternatives that are good for the health, fill you up and do not get you intoxicated.
If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, then you may want to consider seeking help from a professional. You can also consult your doctor, to determine if you are eligible for taking over-the-counter best liver health supplements.