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The Connection Between Alcoholism and Hepatitis

Alcohol abuse and addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s body. Excessive drinking causes the liver to become inundated with toxins and the liver tissue begins to get damaged.

Continued drinking will cause further damage to an individual’s liver, which is a vital organ in the body. Anyone who finds themselves struggling with alcohol should seek help in order to prevent these dangerous effects on health as a result of alcohol dependence. 

Alcoholism and Hepatitis Overview

The connection between alcohol and hepatitis is complex and unpredictable. Alcoholic hepatitis is a condition in which the liver becomes inflamed as a result of alcohol use. While alcohol-related hepatitis is common among those who drink heavily long-term, it can also occur in individuals who drink moderately. Conversely, not everyone who drinks heavily for a long period of time develops the condition.

However, any individual who is diagnosed with this condition should stop drinking immediately to prevent further damage. The liver is vital for many different functions within the body. When the liver is damaged these functions can be affected as a result. 

Causes of Alcohol-Induced Hepatitis

The liver is a vital organ in the body and it is essential for the body to function properly. When damage occurs to the liver as a result of alcohol addiction, it can be irreversible. If irreversible damage occurs, it causes liver functionality to decline. When it comes to alcohol and hepatitis, the way that alcohol is processed can lead to hepatitis development.

The liver processes anything introduced to the body. It will metabolize nutrients, and filter out toxins. When alcohol is introduced, it can lead to toxins and fats building up inside of it. This build-up causes inflammation that can lead to damage.

While the exact cause of liver damage due to alcohol isn’t 100% clear, there are some factors known to contribute to the development of alcoholic hepatitis. These factors can include how the body breaks down the toxins in alcohol, and how the chemicals cause inflammation in the liver resulting in liver cell damage.

As time passes, and continued drinking occurs, the liver then can become scarred and the scarring can reduce liver function. Cirrhosis, or irreversible scarring, can result as continued drinking and damage occur.

Signs of Alcoholic Related Hepatitis

The ability to identify potential signs of alcoholic hepatitis can help someone get help. These signs can indicate that something may be wrong and that medical assistance is needed. In the beginning stages of hepatitis, there may be little to no symptoms.

However, as time goes on and the condition worsens, the symptoms of hepatitis may become more prevalent. Some symptoms to watch out for that could be indicative of hepatitis include:

  • Jaundice, yellowing of the skin and/or whites of the eyes
  • Tenderness in upper right abdomen
  • Distended abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Easy bleeding/bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

There is no general amount of alcohol that can be given that could potentially lead to alcoholic hepatitis. However, individuals who drink more are at greater risk. Those who find themselves struggling with alcohol should seek help to avoid damage to this vital organ.

Effects of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis can lead to an array of health concerns. When loss of appetite occurs as a result of hepatitis, it can lead to malnutrition. Crucial nutrients aren’t being introduced into the body as they should, and are not properly metabolized due to the liver being damaged.

Confusion or behavioral changes can also occur as a result of hepatitis. This occurs because the liver isn’t able to filter out toxins so they build up in the body. Other potential effects of hepatitis due to alcohol include enlarged veins, fluid build-up in the abdomen, encephalopathy, kidney failure, and cirrhosis. 

The Diagnosis and Treatment Process

Diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis begins with speaking to a healthcare provider. They will likely begin with questions regarding drinking habits. From there, some testing may take place. This testing can include a liver biopsy, blood tests, or an ultrasound, CT, or MRI. All of these tests can show liver damage that has occurred, as well as a clearer picture of liver function.

When it comes to alcohol-related hepatitis treatment, there is no medication for direct treatment. Treatment for this condition begins with ending alcohol consumption. From there, an individual can begin nutritional therapy, which is vital to combating malnutrition. In more severe cases, doctors may prescribe short-term steroids in order to reduce inflammation within the liver.

These steroids can also aid in the regeneration of liver cells. Ending alcohol use is crucial to beginning recovery from alcohol-related hepatitis. This can sometimes be a difficult process, especially without the right support. There is professional help available.

Value of Detox for Prevention and Treatment

Struggling with alcohol can have long-lasting effects on the body. Alcohol abuse resulting in alcohol-related hepatitis can cause health impacts that are difficult to reverse.it is crucial to get help in order to begin healing and overcoming alcohol abuse and addiction.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, we can help. At Brentwood Springs we offer personalized care plans for individuals to begin healing and living without alcohol.

Call us today and begin your healing journey.

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