Alcoholic Hepatitis: Symptoms, Treatment & More
March 26, 2019
Alcoholism destroys families. That’s no secret. It also destroys your liver, and with it, your overall health. That said, it’s not always easy to admit that you have a problem with alcohol. How many are too many drinks? The answer varies.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is considered 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in a time span of two hours. If you do that on a regular basis, you are engaging in alcohol abuse.
Excessive consumption of alcohol very often results in a myriad of health issues: it shrinks the brain, causes blackouts, impaired memory, slower reaction times, cardiomyopathy,arrhythmia, high blood pressure, stroke, increases the risk of throat, mouth, esophagus, breast, and liver cancers, causes lung infections, bloating, stomach ulcers, fatty liver, thinning bones, pancreatitis, diarrhea, muscle cramps, hallucinations, cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This blog aims to provide an overview of one of the many physical ailments caused by alcoholism: Alcoholic Hepatitis.
What is Alcoholic Hepatitis?
Alcoholic Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. It starts when the liver attempts to process toxic chemicals released by excessive amounts of alcohol. This injures healthy liver cells and replaces them with scar tissue.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Symptoms
When a person first develops Alcoholic Hepatitis, they may not notice any signs. However, as the disease progresses, it’s common for the patient to experience the following symptoms:
- Dry Mouth
- Swelling of the Abdomen
- Yellowing of the Whites of the Eyes
- Bruise Easily
- Loss of Appetite
When to See a Doctor
Liver damage is irreversible and often causes death. Therefore, early detection is crucial to control the condition. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may have liver damage and should seek medical attention immediately.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Diagnosis and Treatment
Once you visit your doctor, he or she will ask about your health history, lifestyle, and alcohol consumption. If your doctor suspects that you may have Alcoholic Hepatitis, they’ll typically order an abdominal scan, ultrasound of the liver, and blood tests.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, avoid alcohol completely. Since this is easier said than done, talk to your doctor about available resources to help you through the process.
Your doctor may also prescribe medication to reduce inflammation. This is not a panacea, however. If you continue drinking, you’ll continue to develop scar tissue. You may need a liver transplant.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Complications
Liver diseases can result in a multitude of complications when left untreated (or if you continue drinking through treatment). Some of the most common include the following:
Risk Factors for Developing Alcoholic Hepatitis
Being overweight or obese is a risk factor, so it’s crucial to be proactive by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating plant-based whole foods, eliminating fried and processed foods from your diet, and exercising regularly.
Finally, if you cannot drink alcohol in moderation, avoid it altogether.
If You Have Symptoms of Alcoholic Hepatitis, Let Us Help You.
At Pinnacle, we conduct research specializing in liver disease. We work with over 70 referring physicians in San Antonio and Austin, providing clinical trials in liver disease.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you.