Although many factors such as genetics, obesity, and viral infection may lead to liver disease, alcohol consumption is the most common cause. Liver disease caused by excessive consumption of alcohol is referred to as alcoholic liver disease (ALD).
What you need to know?
Excessive drinking not only harms your liver, but it also affects your overall health. In the early stages, no symptoms may be seen. Once the symptoms start showing, the damage is often irreversible and may even be life-threatening. Early symptoms of ALD include:
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
- Swelling in the legs and abdomen
It’s not just drinking, but the pattern of drinking that is also responsible for liver disease. These patterns include:
- Consuming a large amount in a short period of time (binge drinking)
- Consuming more than the recommended limit over many years
- Drinking without food intake, as drinking with a meal slows down the alcohol absorption rate and causes less damage
- Consuming spirits (high alcohol concentration beverage)
- Consuming multiple alcoholic beverages
Securing your liver health
ALD is treatable if it is detected early before it causes severe damage.
Abstinence from alcohol helps
In case of minor damage, abstinence is required until the damage is reversed and the person can drink occasionally after that. However, they would need to stick to the recommended level (safe limit). According to the National Health Services or NHS, the safe limit for alcohol intake
is less than 14 units per week for both men and women (preferably split over 3 or more days). In the case of severe damage, permanent abstinence is recommended, as continued excessive drinking can shorten your lifespan. For more information on safe alcohol consumption and its effects on the liver, consult with an online Gastroenterologist.
Other lifestyle modifications to consider:
- Eating 3 or 4 small meals a day instead of filling yourself with 1 or 2 large meals
- Avoiding excessive salty and fatty foods (junks)
- Opting for healthy snacking between meals instead of munching on processed food
- Give up a sedentary lifestyle and exercising daily
It is advisable to seek help from medical professionals or centers specializing in safe alcohol detoxification.
You may also join self-help groups to help with the process. Severe cases of withdrawal symptoms may require hospitalization and admission in rehab centers.
Prevention is better than a cure
You can preserve your liver and prevent ALD by cutting back on alcohol
or drinking in moderation. Also, one needs to eat nutritious food and
maintain a healthy weight to safeguard their liver health.