Alcoholic liver disease is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that affect the liver resulting from the consumption of alcohol. Heavy drinking (excessive alcohol usage) can impact the health and functioning of the liver and makes it prone to the development of a range of diseases.
There are three types of alcoholic liver diseases:
- Fatty liver – In this condition, your liver begins to accumulate excessive fat resulting from alcohol intake. Fatty liver disease leads to the enlargement of the liver.
- Alcoholic hepatitis – Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver due to alcohol consumption. This infection can cause gradual death of the healthy liver cells.
- Alcohol cirrhosis – Alcohol cirrhosis is a condition in which your liver experiences extreme scarring resulting in the formation of scar tissue due to the intake of alcohol.
The signs and symptoms of alcohol fatty liver disease differ and depend on each type of the condition mentioned above. Common symptoms are listed below:
Symptoms of fatty liver –
- Discomfort on the right side of the abdomen
- Fatigue and weakness
- Weight loss
Symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis –
- Pain felt over the liver
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
Symptoms of alcohol cirrhosis –
- Portal hypertension
- Enlarged spleen
- Poor nutrition
- Bleeding in the intestine
- Fluid build-up in the belly
- Kidney failure
Alcoholic liver disease usually results from uncontrolled or more than normal alcohol consumption.
Your liver is a large organ located under the ribs at the right side of the belly. It is responsible for various significant functions including filtering the waste out of your body, producing bile juice to aid digestion, storing sugar that your body uses for energy, and producing certain proteins.
Your liver is also responsible for breaking down the alcohol you consume. However, if you drink more than enough alcohol, your liver can get damaged and lead to the development of alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A range of tests and procedures are done to diagnose alcoholic fatty liver disease. These include:
- Blood test
- Liver biopsy
- CT scan
- Liver fibro scan