Alcohol and Your Liver

Heavy drinkers cannot underestimate the possibility of a damaged liver due to excessive alcohol intake. Anyone who ingests a ridiculous amount of alcohol is more likely to develop liver cirrhosis compared to those who drink sparingly or consume no alcohol at all. This is because the liver is the organ responsible in processing anything we eat and drink, and that includes alcohol.

The liver breaks down alcohol compound into water, fat and gas. This is one of the dozens of jobs the liver does, and by drinking alcohol excessively, you are only pushing this important organ to its limits. The bad thing is, it is often too late before the body reacts to the worsening condition of the liver, thus making it much harder to treat when the time comes.

Unlike other diseases, the symptoms of a liver disease are not easy to detect. Since the liver has only a few nerve endings, the signals it sends to the brain tend to arrive late. Most of the time, when the body finally experience pain, it is often too late for treatment. Most of the time, the liver will deteriorate sooner or later after the pain starts kicking in.

In some cases, the patient is fortunate enough to have an early detection. Liver problems that are spotted during the early stage are relatively easy to deal with because liver has the natural ability to regenerate itself. That is why it is crucial to have regular checkups, especially if you are aware you have been drinking too much alcohol lately. This is the safest bet to avoid an early death due to acute liver damage.

Is Your Drinking Habit Enough to Harm Your Liver?

According to the guidelines provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the recommended maximum consumption of alcohol for men is 4 drinks a day and 2 drinks a day for women. A standard drink has 10 grams alcohol, which is equivalent to one bottle of regular beer, a serving of wine (100 ml) or a jigger (30 ml) of spirits. Exceeding amounts of alcohol or 6 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women per day are enough to cause liver damage.

One out of three adults consumes enough alcohol that heightens their risk of having liver disease. Other factors include:

  • Alcohol dependence. Although according to experts, 8 out of 10 alcohol dependent people are less likely to develop liver damage.
  • Gender. Women have greater risk of having alcohol-related damage to the liver compared to men.
  • BMI. Obese or overweight people who consume unacceptable amounts of alcohol are more prone to liver damage.
  • Race. Studies show that heavy-drinkers of African origin have higher risk than Caucasian heavy-drinkers.

Ask Your Doctor

Most patients who have developed liver cirrhosis are completely unaware during the disease’s earlier stages. Although early symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and abdominal pains can be present, they are usually taken for granted. If you know that you are a heavy drinker, religiously visiting your doctor for tests and checkups is a must-do.