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How Does Alcohol Damage the Liver?

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Liver disease is reversible up until a certain point. Learn how you can combat liver disease in its early stages.

More than 40,000 people die each year from chronic liver disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It starts with fatty liver disease. If unchecked, it progresses to alcoholic hepatitis and finally alcoholic cirrhosis.

The good news is in the early stages, this type of liver disease can be reversed. You can still restore healthy liver function.

The 3 Types of Alcohol Liver Disease

Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver can occur after three days of heavy alcohol use. It’s a common side effect among people who drink heavily on a regular basis. It can be detected using standard blood tests. At this stage, liver disease is completely reversible by simply limiting alcohol consumption. A diagnosis of fatty liver should be seen as a warning sign to reduce alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

This is inflammation of the liver. For some people, there are no symptoms. Others will experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting and fever. As with fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis is totally reversible with abstinence from drinking. Alcoholic hepatitis should be seen as a sign to stop drinking.

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

This is defined as the scarring of the liver. Symptoms include fatigue, easy bleeding and bruising, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, swelling in the legs, and weight loss. Even worse, cirrhosis puts you at risk of developing liver cancer. Although not reversible, many people who develop cirrhosis can prevent their condition from worsening by immediately stopping drinking. This is an alcoholic’s last chance to protect their health.

Alcohol and Liver Damage: The Next Step

Once your liver has been damaged, it’s critical to stop drinking. However, quitting alcohol cold turkey can cause delirium tremens, a dangerous condition characterized by confusion, delirium and seizures. In severe cases, it can even lead to death.

So what is the right way to quit drinking?

If you’re someone who isn’t drinking every day or experiencing severe problems caused by alcohol, you have more options. While a good treatment program might still be your best bet, you could also consider trying to stop drinking with the help of a support group or therapy.

If, however, you’re consuming heavy amounts of alcohol, you’ll be at risk of developing delirium tremens and will need to be medically supervised while detoxing.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

At The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the alcohol out of your system. We work with you to help you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially as well. Rehab isn’t just about giving something up – it’s about getting your life back. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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