Alcoholic liver disease Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

To confirm that alcohol-related cirrhosis has developed, a doctor will try to rule out other conditions that may affect the liver. Doctors can diagnose alcohol-related cirrhosis by first taking a medical history and discussing your drinking history. However, people with different genetic backgrounds or those with preexisting metabolic conditions may be more likely to develop the condition earlier than others, even with lower alcohol consumption.

alcoholic liver disease

Once the liver stops functioning, an organ transplant may be an option. During a transplant, surgeons remove the damaged liver and replace it with a healthy working liver. In fact, cirrhosis is one of the most common reasons for a liver transplant. You and your medical team will need to assess if you are an appropriate candidate through a transplant evaluation. Surgery is a big undertaking, one that brings its own risks and complications, and it should always be a decision between you, your family, and your doctors.

Other risk factors

A liver transplant is a challenging procedure, and the rules about who can receive an organ are complex. But alcohol-related cirrhosis is directly linked to alcohol misuse, which can become alcohol use disorder. Fibrosis is a buildup of certain types of protein in the liver, including collagen. Once damage begins, it can take a long time to become noticeable, as the liver is generally highly effective at regenerating and repairing itself. Often, by the time doctors detect the damage, it is irreversible. Esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the esophagus.

They also don’t fully understand why some fatty livers turn into NASH. This yellowing of the skin is a good indication that your liver may have difficulty operating normally. Immediately limit symptoms of alcohol related liver disease the amount of alcohol you drink, or stop completely if you notice any symptoms of jaundice. Those with ARLD may experience a wide range of symptoms, some of which are life-threatening.

Risk factors for alcohol-related liver disease

Listen to relatives, friends or co-workers when they ask you to examine your drinking habits or to seek help. Consider talking with someone who has had a problem with drinking but has stopped. There are several steps you can take to help improve the health of your liver.

  • For those with cirrhosis, the future is brighter than ever before.
  • With ongoing inflammation, fibrosis spreads and takes up more liver tissue.
  • There are often no notable symptoms in the early stages of alcohol-related liver disease.

In one third of patients, the liver is enlarged and smooth, but it is not usually tender. Sign up for free, and receive liver transplant and decompensated cirrhosis content, plus expertise on liver health. The liver damage caused by cirrhosis generally can’t be undone. But if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed early and the underlying cause is treated, further damage can be limited. Cirrhosis further worsens the condition and can lead to serious complications. In case of severe damage, the liver cannot heal or return to normal function.

Diagnosis of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

As the condition progresses and more healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, the liver stops functioning properly. The life expectancy of a person with alcoholic liver disease reduces dramatically as the condition progresses. Typically, only people who can show at least 6 months of abstinence from alcohol before the procedure will be suitable candidates for a transplant. Quitting alcohol and treating this condition early on is the best way for a person to increase their chances of reversing or slowing the disease.

  • Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is caused by damage to the liver from years of excessive drinking.
  • If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to see a doctor right away.
  • Years of alcohol abuse can cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen.
  • Sumera I. Ilyas, M.B.B.S., Transplant Hepatologist, Mayo Clinic I’m Dr. Sumera Ilyas, a transplant hepatologist at Mayo Clinic.

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