Alcoholic Hepatitis

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Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol a silent enemy for Hepatitis ?

Yes there is a health condition called as Alcohol Hepatitis. It is a diseased, inflammatory condition of the liver caused by excessive alcohol intake over  an extreme period of time. It can cause short- or long-term liver damage.

When alcohol gets processed in the liver, it produces highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals can injure the liver cells. This injury then leads to inflammation, and alcoholic hepatitis.

Although heavy drinking causes alcoholic hepatitis, doctors are not entirely sure why the condition develops. Alcoholic hepatitis only develops in a minority of heavy drinkers. It can also develop in people who are only moderate drinkers.

The liver is the largest organ in the body, and it removes poisons such as alcohol , ethanol from the blood. When it’s damaged by heavy drinking, it can become inflamed, scarred, and fatty. Over time, it stops its regular processes.

Symptoms

  • Changes in appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Fever
  • Changes in your mental state, including confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Easy bleeding or bruising

How is alcoholic hepatitis diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis, your doctor will ask you about your health history and alcohol consumption. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to see if you have an enlarged liver or spleen. They may decide to order tests so they can confirm your diagnosis. These tests could include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Liver function test
  • Blood clotting tests
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Ultrasound of the liver

Your doctor may order a liver biopsy if needed to confirm a diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis. A liver biopsy is an invasive procedure with certain inherent risks. It requires your doctor to remove a tissue sample from the liver. A liver biopsy will show the severity and type of liver disease.

How to manage if you are affected with alcoholic hepatitis?

In most patients with alcoholic hepatitis, the illness is mild. The short-term prognosis is good, and no specific treatment is required. Hospitalization is not always necessary. Alcohol use must be stopped, and care should be taken to ensure good nutrition; providing supplemental vitamins and minerals, including folate and thiamine, is reasonable.

Your doctor may recommend a liver transplant if your liver is severely damaged. To qualify for a transplant, you must demonstrate that you won’t continue drinking if you receive a new liver. You will also need to abstain from alcohol for at least six months. In some cases, you may need to seek counseling as well.

If those treatments don’t work because your disease is too advanced, you may need a liver transplant.

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