The liver is the second most complicated organ from the brain. This is owing to its abundant functionalities, either in metabolism, digestion, control of sugar and cholesterol levels, recovering the body from an infection, or filtering toxic substances from the body, and so on.
Nowadays, alcohol is one of the main factors contributing to chronic liver disease. Being a heavy drinker can cause many disorders to the liver, starting from fatty liver disease to alcoholic cirrhosis. In normal circumstances, the liver is capable of restoring and rehabilitating itself. However, a large number of alcohols in an extensive period would have a major effect on the liver, causing some of its cells to die. Such an effect could be up to the damage stage that it cannot revive itself to function as usual anymore.
Liver diseases from alcohol can be divided into 3 stages according to the condition and progression of the disease as follows:
- Fatty Liver Disease: the most common disease that can be found in people who drink alcohol for up to 90 percent. Patients often do not have symptoms. In this stage, the liver still able to return to its normal state with no alcohol intake for a period of 4-6 weeks.
- Hepatitis: Can occur to both those who have been drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time and those who drink an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period. For example, people who drink heavily at one time often have acute hepatitis. In some cases, the liver can return to normal. Unfortunately, in some cases, the conditions may develop more severely to liver cirrhosis or death.
- Liver Cirrhosis: this is the last stage of liver diseases from alcohol. If the patients’ condition is critical to the stage that they get liver cirrhosis, their livers cannot be treated back to the normal stage anymore. The only option available is to stop drinking to prevent the liver from further damages.
Guidelines for Treatment and Prevention
There are several options in treating patients with liver diseases from alcohol, namely; the provision of steroids and anti-cytokine drugs to reduce alcohol cravings and decrease the need to drink of the patients, provision of treatment in parallel with nutritional care, or even organ transplantation. In any case, the treatment for each patient is varied depending on the severity of the disease.
Nevertheless, before the conditions aggravate to the last stage that cannot be treated anymore, the best way to cure and prevent liver diseases from alcohol is to stop drinking. This is the best solution for the liver in both the short term and long term. It is also good for the health and body overall.