What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?


Quick Answer

Alcoholic liver disease occurs when a person imbibes excessive alcohol over many year and this leads to different types of liver damage that includes alcoholic cirrhosis, hepatitis and fatty liver disease, states the American Liver Foundation. Although alcoholic liver disease is not found in all heavy drinkers, the risk factor of getting this disease does increase the longer people drink alcohol, relates the National Institute of Health.

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What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?
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Full Answer

Alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat accumulates in liver cells. Because this is the first stage of alcoholic liver disease, it may not present symptoms. However, in some cases, initial symptoms can be fatigue or a mild discomfort near the liver region, which is on the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, states the American Liver Foundation. Although some heavy drinkers may progress directly to the alcoholic cirrhosis stage, the progression of alcoholic liver disease can include all three stages in most people. Liver cirrhosis is the most advanced stage of this liver disease and can present symptoms like heavy scarring of the liver, jaundice, losing weight and ascites, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Although the first two stages are reversible if the person abstains totally from alcohol, alcoholic cirrhosis disease is irreversible. However, abstaining from alcohol can help even in this stage of liver disease, suggests the American Liver Foundation. When there is significant damage to the liver, a person may need a liver transplant, states the National Institute of Health.

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