Consuming alcohol in excess leads to building up of fats and scarring of the liver. Eventually, it may result in alcohol liver disease which can be fatal.
- Alcoholic liver disease in western countries is the main cause of liver dysfunctions.
- In Eastern countries, on the other hand, alcoholic liver diseases often result to viral hepatitis.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the number of deaths from the alcoholic liver disease in the United States was 18,146 from the year 2013.
- The number of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis combined has been estimated to have caused 11.5 fatalities in more than 100,000 people.
Several factors are contributory elements in the increase of risk of developing an alcoholic liver disease.
The chances are higher in having a liver disease for those people who drink beer and liquor or spirits compared to those people who usually consumes wine. Women, on the other hand, are more susceptible to having alcoholic liver disease compared to men because women metabolize alcohol more slowly. With this, women’s sensitivity to alcohol-related liver damage is double compared to men.
With the data presented by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 13% of the female population in the U.S. consumes more than seven drinks. Further, women who are in the excess body weight population and consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol will have a greater chance of having chronic liver disease. In the worst case scenario, death due to liver disease may happen.
Another factor that might increase the risk is Hepatitis C and those regular drinkers having any type of hepatitis might develop liver disease. The genetic makeup of a person is another factor. With the changes in genetic profiles of particular enzymes like ADH, ALDH, and CYP4502E1, which are key to alcohol metabolism of the person, the chance of developing alcohol liver disease is extremely higher.
Alcoholic Hepatitis should not be neglected because it is a serious disease.
Only 30 to 40 percent of people having severe alcoholic hepatitis can live up to one month. Seek your doctor’s advice if:
Signs or symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis is visible
- You cannot control your drinking
- You cannot cut back on your drinking
In preventing alcoholic liver disease and other conditions related to the consumption of alcohol, the guidelines for alcohol consumption should be followed.
In the national guidelines, it is stated that moderate drinking can be classified as up to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men with the age of 21 years old and above. A drink is said to be equivalent to a 12-ounce beer having 5 fluid-ounce of wine and 5 percent of alcohol ingredients or in 1.5 fluid-ounce of spirits and 12 percent strong alcohol.
It is also stated in the national guidelines that drinking as four or more drinks on any day, or seven or more glasses of drinks for women in a week, and six or more glasses of drinks or fifteen or more drinks for men in a week is considered a high-risk drinking.
As noted by the NIAAA, everyone is different and some people experiences the effects of alcohol differently compared to others.