Liver disease is a rather broad term that describes any of a number of diseases that can affect the liver. Most of these result in jaundice that is caused by increased bilirubin in the body.
Hemoglobin comes from dead red blood cells and breaks up the bilirubin. The liver is responsible for filtering and clotting the blood, recycling blood cells, removing the bilirubin and expelling it through bile.
When you drink alcohol, a very high 90-98% is broken down or metabolized in the liver. The small remaining percentage is excreted from the body.
The reason people get nauseous after drinking is partly because the highly toxic acetaldehyde is the byproduct of the metabolized alcohol.
The role of the liver is to rid the body of unwanted toxins, but the excessive exposure to the toxins in alcohol weakens that function.
Some external symptoms of liver disease are:
- Bad breath
- Itchy skin
- Excessive sweating
- Offensive body odor
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Acne rosacea
- Red, swollen, or itchy eyes
- Brownish spots on the skin
- A flushed face and undue blood vessels in the face
Some additional signs as the disease progresses:
- Dark urine
- Pale stool
- An enlarged spleen
- Bone loss
- Easy bleeding
- An enlarged gallbladder
When the liver is not functioning properly, you can suffer from digestive problems, blood sugar problems, metabolism problems, and immune disorders.
The digestive problems can lead to acid reflux, gallstones, hemorrhoids, intolerance to fatty foods, nausea and vomiting, intolerance to alcohol, bloating and constipation.
The blood sugar problems can lead to a craving for sugar, hypoglycemia, and the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The sluggish metabolism and inability absorb fats can lead to excessive weight gain, high blood pressure, and increase your risk for heart attacks or strokes.
Treatments for liver disease
Treatments for this disease include avoiding alcohol, bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding unnecessary medications, and eating a well-balanced diet.
Further treatment depends on the type of disease that you’re experiencing. Sometimes the only effective treatment can be a liver transplant, but this is a last resort.
The death of liver cells can be caused by alcoholism that leads to the liver disease known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a long-term effect of liver dysfunction.
Kidney damage and low-blood counts can be some of the other consequences.
Alcohol can accelerate existing liver problems as well as cause them. Therefore, eliminating any form of alcohol consumption is crucial to your health. There are approximately 14 million alcoholics in the United States. At least 15% of these will develop some form of liver disease.
The only way to ensure that you will not develop alcoholic liver disease is to abstain from the harmful toxins that are the result of a heavy alcohol intake.
In the UK the NHS guide to safe alcohol consumption is 14 units of alcohol per week for a woman and 21 units per week for a man. With stronger wines and beers becoming the norm rather than the exception, you would be wise to add up your weekly consumption before you develop a problem.