Alcoholic Cirrhosis; What Does Alcoholic Cirrhosis Mean?

The liver is one of the most complex organs in your body. It lies in the right part of your abdomen under the diaphragm and behind the lower ribs. It is a dark reddish organ that consists of two lobes -the huge right lobe and the small left one. It excretes the bile, which breaks down fats. It also synthesizes essential proteins for your body. It filters all blood from the digestive tract.

Liver cirrhosis means that your liver can’t function well, which may occur due to alcohol abuse, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.

Alcoholic cirrhosis means scarring and severe damage of the liver due to too much alcohol intake for many years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, the number of deaths due to alcoholic liver disease in the United States was 19,388, while causes of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis were 12 fatalities per 100,000 trusted source people per year.

In 2015, in the United States, nearly 20 percent of trusted sources of all liver transplants happened due to alcoholic liver disease, making it the third most common reason for transplant after chronic hepatitis C and liver cancer.

Symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis aren’t noticeable. Early symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and poor appetite. Late symptoms may include jaundice, ascites, renal failure, and liver cancer.

Without early management, cirrhosis may complicate and affect other organs like the kidney, brain, and blood. Uncontrolled cirrhosis may end in death.

When you see your doctor, he will ask you about your medical history of alcohol consumption and your drinking habits, use of medicals, exposure to toxins, and positive family history of liver disease. He will do some investigations to assess the liver status.

Stop drinking alcohol is the first part of treatment. Your doctor would recommend steroids if were severe inflammation. Liver transplantation remains the only curative therapy.

The prognosis of alcoholic cirrhosis depends on liver histology. Progression to alcoholic cirrhosis occurs at 10–20% per year, and 70% will eventually develop cirrhosis. Despite the cessation of alcohol use, only 10% will have normal histology and normal serum liver enzyme levels.

What does alcoholic cirrhosis mean, and what are the risk factors?

Alcoholic cirrhosis means severe inflammation and scarring of the liver due to drinking too much alcohol for many years.

Risk factors:

  • Quantity of alcohol: Liver cirrhosis develops in 6–14% of those who consume more than 60–80 gm of alcohol daily for men and more than 20 gm for women. Even in those who drink more than 120 gm daily, only 13.5% will suffer serious liver injury.
  • The pattern of drinking: Drinking that isn’t related to mealtimes increases up to three times the risk of alcoholic liver disease.
  • Sex: women may develop alcoholic liver disease with shorter durations and doses of chronic abuse.
  • Hepatitis C infection leads to early cirrhosis.
  • Malnutrition can worsen the damage and prevent the liver cells’ regeneration.

Written by Martin Davis