How To Protect Your Liver If You Drink Alcohol
Whenever someone hears about your alcohol problem or anyone’s problem with alcohol, they warn you about the possible damage this alcohol can do to your liver. Why liver?
The reason behind this alcohol thing affecting your liver is that when your liver has too much alcohol to handle with, some regular functions of the liver gets interrupted and that leads to chemical imbalance.
Continuous intake of alcohol just forces the liver to detoxify any alcohol coming on into the stomach and when the amount gets very high, your liver cells may get altered or destroyed and form a fatty liver and there can be other serious complications as well. Like some serious inflammation called alcoholic hepatitis on your lungs or cirrhosis (scarring of the lungs).
How many years of drinking before liver damage
So, how much is too much? And what amount will show negative effects on your body?. Statistics show that if you are a man, your risk of having a negative effect on your lung is high if you drink any more than 2 ounces of alcohol a day for more than 10 years.
Also, drinking 3 cans of beer, 3 shots of hard liquor, or 3 glasses of wine can have a similar effect on you. If you drink more than that, for instance, 3 ounces a day for around 10 years and same goes with 6 cans of beer, 6 shots of liquor, or 5 glasses of wine, you will develop cirrhosis.
This is a huge problem and if you see the odds, you might not get favored by the alcohol. So, you are more likely to get cirrhosis if you have been drinking regularly for more than 10 years.
Alcoholic liver disease symptoms
Here listed are some of the symptoms that will appear if you are suffering from are going towards suffering from the liver disease. Some symptoms appear slowly than others and the severity depends on how well the liver is doing in the alcoholic environment. As you would expect, the symptoms significantly increase when you just have had a huge amount of alcohol.
Some common symptoms that people have been experiencing are:
- Fatigue and loss of energy: This is nothing new. Whether or not your lungs have been affected by alcohol, this is certain to happen because alcohol causes the bodily functions to not work properly. You will feel like you do not have any energy left in the body because most of your work is being done by the liver in trying to manage the alcohol you just had.
- Poor appetite and weight loss: You will probably lose your appetite. You may think that this is the least of your problem but when loss of appetite hits you hard it is quite dangerous. You may lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. And these kinds of sudden weight changes can get your body to become sick.
- Nausea or belly pain: This is obvious. It is normal to have stomach ache and nausea after you have taken a lot of alcohol. When your stomach is flooded with alcohol and liver is busy being corroded by alcohol, your stomach is meant to hurt. Also, when the stomach is full of alcohol, digestive system gets disrupted and the body will try sending this toxic alcohol outside of the body through vomit. So, you will feel nauseated.
The above mentioned are not as severe as these. These occur when your liver is suffering badly and its functions don’t work like they should. So these symptoms are:
- Edema which is the fluid buildup in the legs and ascites which is fluid buildup in the abdomen might be caused.
- Jaundice is a clear sign of liver infection. You will find that your skin has turned yellow and the same goes with eyes or your mucous membrane. There are numerous causes of jaundice but alcohol makes it happen as alcohol disturbs the regular content in the blood and this subsequently results in you suffering from jaundice. This can be fatal.
- Redness on the hands especially the palm
- Impotence in men due to the shrinking of testicles and women have breast swelling.
- Easy bruising and abnormal bleeding
- Pale or clay-colored stools
- Confusion or problems thinking
So, these are some of the signs you may notice if you are having liver disease or inflammation because of the alcohol intake.
Alcoholic liver disease treatment
Here are some ways to treat the liver problem you are having. The treatment methods listed below are quite helpful in solving the problem though it may take some time to heal.
Diet and nutrition
You can just heal your problems that are related to the liver by making some changes to your diet. You should, of course, exclude alcohol out of your diet. Because it is what is affecting your liver in the first place. Keeping a healthy diet is very important.
People who have Alcohol-related liver disease generally have malnutrition as the alcohol is disturbing the intake of nutrients in the body. So, you will need to eat the balanced diet to ensure that you have enough amount of nutrients in the body for maintaining a good health. Here are some tips for you to try eating a nutritious diet.
- Less salt: Try avoiding salty foods and try not adding salt to regular foods as eating less salt can really be of help to you. This way you can reduce your risk of having swelling legs, abdomen, and feet which are caused due to the build-up of fluid.
- Extra protein and energetic foods: Eat foods that give you a lot of energy and protein is a must. This is because when there is damage to your liver, the liver cannot store glycogen which is an important carbohydrate that provides short-term energy. In this case, the body starts using its own muscle tissues for providing energy and this leads to problems like a weakening of muscles and wasting of muscles. This is why you may want to take in more protein and energy-providing foods.
- Take regular healthy snacks and not heavy snacks just two times a day. Eat about three or four meals a day and make sure that what you eat is healthy and not in any way affects your digestive system negatively. Taking in good food regularly helps the malnutrition problem from getting more problematic. You can refer to your dietitian about how you can manage a suitable diet for your body.
- Malnutrition problem can get so serious that you might even have to take in nutrients through a tube that is inserted into the stomach through the nose and this tube is also known as the feeding tube. This can trigger infections or allergies so try not reaching to this stage and keep your nutrients within the required range.
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Medication for symptoms
So, what medications can be used for this problem is the question you might be having. The alcoholically related liver disease is not believed to be cured effectively by medication. In the case of conditions like alcoholic hepatitis, you will need a sophisticated hospital treatment. This may include medications such as pentoxifylline or corticosteroids used for reducing inflammation of the liver for some people.
In the case of conditions like alcoholic hepatitis, you will need a sophisticated hospital treatment. This may include medications such as pentoxifylline or corticosteroids used for reducing inflammation of the liver for some people.
As liver infection generally relates to malnutrition, nutrition-related drugs may also be part of the medication treatment and this might be recommended by the doctor.
Some other medications which have been and can be used to treat liver damage are:
- Anabolic steroids: It is a quite powerful steroid medication for people suffering from liver damage.
- Propylthiouracil: This is generally given for treating the overactive thyroid glands and this is quite helpful for the people with liver damage problem.
There is no evidence of medication effectively helping in these cases and in severe cases such medications are not given to not cause any further infections. But if a doctor recommends you with medication, you should take it.
Taking medications with ARLD
If you have an Alcohol-related liver disease, you might want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Your health condition can affect the way the body takes in those medications.
Alcoholic Liver transplants
In serious case scenarios, people with an Alcohol-related liver disease may have a liver failure after the liver starts to lose its ability to function. This needs an immediate medical attention and liver transplant needs to be carried out to cover this irreversible liver failure.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider a liver transplant as your treatment plan for the liver related alcohol disease.
- If you are developing a progressive liver failure despite avoiding alcohol.
- If you are otherwise from the liver problem well enough to survive such a sophisticated operation.
- If you can commit that you will not drink alcohol for the rest of your life.
So, this is how you treat your problem of the liver caused by overindulging alcohol or drinking alcohol in a regular manner. You should not just carry out these treatments, but also reduce and stop your alcohol intake. You should commit to not drinking any alcohol and that can be a completely new start for your body and you as your body gets to be healthy and you get to be free from any craving and addiction.