Liver and Alcohol: Effects of Alcohol on Liver

Liver is one of the largest internal organs that work regularly. It has 500 different roles. One of the main functions of the liver is to break down food to generate energy for the body. It helps in getting rid of the waste products.

What happens when you drink alcohol?

When you drink, only 20 % of alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and the rest 80% is absorbed in the small intestine. As the alcohol enters the bloodstream, it circulates around the whole body after passing through the liver. The blood flowing through the liver has the highest concentration of alcohol.

Liver contains enzymes that metabolize alcohol into acetic acid. Acetic acid further breaks down into water and carbon dioxide, which is further transformed as urine and breath with the help of kidneys and lungs respectively. The liver enzymes can process a certain limit of alcohol in an hour. So if you drink faster than the liver can process, the alcohol level increases in your bloodstream causing the symptoms of inebriation.

Problems with excessive drinking

While some doctors and specialists may argue that drinking alcohol in moderation (1-2 units in a day) may help to prevent stroke and heart disease, we don’t agree! We believe that drinking habit either in moderation or in excess raises the risk of health issues. The various issues related to excessive drinking are:

  • Liver disease
  • Stomach disorders
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cancer (liver, mouth, and breast, etc.)
  • Damages Nervous system
  • Erectile dysfunction, pregnancy complications, etc.
  • Mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Death

Symptoms of liver disease

Early symptoms of liver disease can include:

  • Abdominal pains
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

Later stage liver damage symptoms are more serious. Some of the serious symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Liver cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Vomiting blood
  • Bleeding in the gut
  • Easy bruising
  • loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the legs ankles, or abdomen
  • Increased sensitivity to drugs and alcohol (because the liver cannot process them

This is a sign of addiction; you may need to keep an eye on your drinking habit. This scenario is pretty common in Americans. People usually think that their drinking habit isn’t affecting their health but this isn’t true. Your drinking habit may be damaging your liver!

Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of developing cirrhosis. If you get cirrhosis, stop drinking alcohol to prevent yourself from dying with liver failure. This is necessary as cirrhosis is a condition when your liver stops working completely. In the most serious cases of cirrhosis, your healthcare provider will recommend you for a liver transplant if you do not drink alcohol for at least three months.

If you’re an alcoholic then you must limit your drinking habits and eventually stop it to get sober. There are many treatment facilities that can help you with your recovery.  You can always consult an addiction specialist for recovery assistance.

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