Alcoholic Liver Disease

Written by Amy Hall
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Alcoholic liver disease may not be present in all heavy drinkers, though long-term alcohol abuse can and often does lead to cirrhosis. This disease can be either acute or chronic, but it always involves inflammation of the liver. Typically it takes years of alcohol abuse for the patient to succumb to alcoholic liver disease, though in some people it can happen much more quickly.

Women tend to suffer the consequences of alcohol abuse more readily than men, as women are not able to metabolize alcohol as quickly as men. Malnutrition is another contributing factor, as drinkers tend to consume empty calories in the form of liquor instead of eating a balanced diet. Without a doubt, poor nutrition in combination with alcohol abuse can greatly increase the risk of a person developing liver disease.

Genetic factors can also play a role in the development of alcoholic liver disease. It is important to note that a person who drinks alcohol regularly does not have to get intoxicated in order to develop liver disease. Some people, especially men, are able to metabolize alcohol more quickly, thus they are able to drink more alcohol without feeling the “buzz” associated with being drunk.

Preventing Alcoholic Liver Disease

The best way to avoid developing alcohol related liver problems is to totally abstain from alcohol or greatly limit your intake to one to two drinks per day. For people with a family history of alcoholism, total avoidance of alcohol consumption is recommended. If you have any worries about liver disease and alcoholism and how it may affect you personally, it is important that you speak to a medical doctor for advice.

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