Generally, alcoholic liver cirrhosis occurs after years of excessive drinking. An uncontrolled rate of alcohol consumption greatly increases the chance of developing a cirrhotic liver.
Contrary to popular belief, however, alcoholic liver disease does not necessarily affect only alcoholics and heavy drinkers. Women may be more susceptible than men, and it is not necessary to drink to excess for the disease to develop.
Alcohol-Induced Cirrhosis The Final Stage of Liver Disease
Alcoholic cirrhosis is the final stage of liver disease due to alcohol abuse.
It is irreversible.
Cirrhosis is the result of damage to the liver cells from toxins, metabolic problems or other causes. Hypertension develops with alcoholic cirrhosis.
As the liver deteriorates, it gradually loses its ability to remove waste products from the bloodstream and the effects of portal hypertension will appear.
Alcoholic cirrhosis is unpredictable in so far as it can occur in an individual who has been drinking heavily for 10 years and not in one who has been drinking heavily for 20 years. Some are more susceptible to the condition than others.
Alcohol Cirrhosis Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis
Symptoms of the disease may include:
Dry mouth and excessive thirst
Fatigue, slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
Fever, nausea, agitation, loss of appetite
Abdominal pain and tenderness
Fluid collection in the abdomen
Unintentional weight gain (due to water retention)
Mental confusion, mood swing, hallucinations
Jaundice, abnormally dark or light skin
Presence of blood in feces, tarry bowel movements
Rapid heart rates, redness on feet and hands
Attention deficit, impaired ability to concentrate
Memory lapse, impaired memory
If you or someone you care about is suffering from alcohol induced liver damage, it is essential you or they stop drinking immediately. Our FREE E-bookThe Guide to Free and Affordable Drug and Alcohol Rehab is the definitive directory of treatment centers around the U.S. Centers that can offer a way out of alcohol dependence to those without insurance or the money to pay for expensive alcohol rehab.
Alcoholic Cirrhosis Treatment for Alcohol-Induced Cirrhosis
The most important part of treatment, if cirrhosis is suspected, is to stop drinking alcohol immediately.
If cirrhosis has not yet occurred, the liver may have a chance to heal.
Prognosis is determined by the degree of inflammation of the liver.
A simple liver biopsy can confirm whether alcoholic liver disease has occurred. Using ultrasound radiography to measure liver stiffness is another way to do it.
However if cirrhosis is detected, then it may be difficult to treat.
Treatment of alcohol cirrhosis includes:
It is the only way. Abstain from alcohol. Compliance can be difficult; a compassionate approach is the key. Patients need motivation, behavioral and psychosocial interventions can help. These include rehabilitation programs and support groups. Alcoholism medication, if used, should only supplement other interventions.
To support abstinence from alcohol, it is paramount patients are given a nutritious diet with vitamin supplements. This is especially so during the first few days of abstinence. Alcohol withdrawal may require the use of benzodiazepines, or simply – Diazepam.
Patients who have severe cirrhosis may be given corticosteroids (a type of drug) to improve their condition. Other than corticosteroids, antioxidants like metadoxine was found to be effective in ameliorating liver injury during early cirrhosis.
Many patients’ liver function worsens despite intensive treatment. As mentioned above, cirrhosis is irreversible. When all else fails, and the disease is at its critical stage, a liver transplantation may be considered. Advances in surgical procedures and medications to prevent infection and rejection of the transplanted liver have greatly improved survival after transplantation. 80% of patients who receive transplants are alive after five years.
If you suspect you may be suffering from alcoholic liver disease, then it is essential you contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:
Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)