Alcoholic Hepatitis; Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

Your liver is a cheap and efficient recycling system that clears and detoxifies all the blood from the digestive tract. It synthesizes the coagulation factors and metabolizes what you eat into energy and nutrients that you need. It also secretes bile, which helps fat digestion. The liver gets its blood supply in two ways:

  • Hepatic artery (oxygenated blood)
  • Portal vein (Deoxygenated blood from the digestive tract for filtration)

Overview of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis is liver inflammation because of excessive drinking of alcohol over many years. It is a global healthcare problem that can damage the liver because it is the first site of ethanol metabolism.

Excess alcohol intake leads to

The first risk factor for alcoholic hepatitis is the alcohol amount you consume. Some studies had evidence of liver disease with excess consumption of less than one year. About 8% to 10% of Americans drink heavily. Of those, 10% to 50% will develop liver disease.

Other risk factors include gender, race, genetic predisposition, and heavy drinking.
Some heavy drinkers haven’t signed of liver affection until the progression of the disease. Others show early symptoms.

Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss.
Severe symptoms occur later, such as jaundice, ascites, edema, varices, behavioral changes, and coma.

Diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis depends firstly on the history your doctor will take. Your doctor will ask about the amount you drink every day and how long time you consume alcohol. A typical patient with alcoholic hepatitis provides a history of daily drinking of over 80 gm of ethanol for more than five years. Other tests and methods, such as liver imaging, will evaluate your liver state.
The first treatment for alcoholic hepatitis is to stop alcohol abuse.

There is no specific cure, but management will limit symptoms and prevent progression. A focused diet can correct the balance of nutrients in your body if you have malnourishment after regular alcohol use. Medications -such as corticosteroids- can reduce liver inflammation. In severe and late cases, liver transplantation may be the only option for survival. You should have the experience of early marks of alcoholic hepatitis to keep yourself and prevent the progression of the disease.

Written by Greg M. Wilcox

With a background in medical research, I'm dedicated to unraveling the complexities of health and nutrition in a way that's easy to understand and implement. From debunking myths to sharing science-backed insights, my goal is to guide you on a journey towards optimal well-being.