Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink, so it’s out of your body.
This process creates substances that are more toxic than alcohol. Consuming large amounts of these substances can damage liver cells and cause serious liver disease.
Alcohol causes 4 out of 5 deaths from liver disease.
Types of liver disease caused by alcohol are:
fatty liver (steatosis)
inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis)
acute alcoholic hepatitis
liver scarring (cirrhosis)
Fatty liver (steatosis)
Fatty liver disease is the most common type of alcohol-related liver disease. Fat accumulates in the liver and stops its normal function. It causes scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).
Inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis)
About one-third of people with fatty liver have mild or moderate liver inflammation. This is alcoholic hepatitis. Because hepatitis causes no symptoms at first, you may not realize you have it.
Acute alcoholic hepatitis
More serious and life-threatening hepatitis can cause:
loss of appetite
to have a stomach ache
jaundice (yellow skin)
1 in 3 people who develop acute alcoholic hepatitis die from it.
Liver scarring (cirrhosis)
1 in 5 heavy drinkers have cirrhosis of the liver.
Fatty liver and inflammation can lead to scarring. When the scarring is severe, it is called cirrhosis.
Scar tissue replaces healthy cells. This means that the liver cannot function normally and may fail. Liver failure is a life-threatening condition.
Cirrhosis of the liver can be asymptomatic.
Symptoms of liver cirrhosis include:
I feel bad
loss of appetite
Most people with cirrhosis or liver failure do not notice symptoms until it is too late.
Also, cirrhosis of the liver can be caused by non-alcoholic steatosis.
Reduces the risk of liver damage
You can reduce the risk of liver damage by cutting down or avoiding alcohol. Abstinence from alcohol improves all liver diseases.