Dr. Sarah Jarvis admits that the liver has an “amazing” ability to regenerate itself. However, every time he filters out alcohol, “liver cells die”, which can be a “if you keep drinking” problem. When the liver cannot keep up with what a person drinks regularly, permanent damage to the liver occurs. Alcohol is believed to damage the liver in two ways, through oxidative stress and toxins.
Drinkaware further explained: “When our liver tries to break down alcohol, the resulting chemical reaction can damage its cells.
“This damage can lead to swelling and scarring as the liver tries to repair itself” – known as oxidative stress.
In terms of toxins, alcohol can damage the stomach, allowing toxins from gut bacteria to move into the liver; this also causes swelling and scarring.
Drinkaware warned: “People can spend 20 years damaging their liver and not feeling any of the effects this is having on them.”
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However, when there are signs of fatty liver disease, there are five warning signs to be aware of, namely:
- Abdominal pains
Dr Jarvis said: “Now, if you stop drinking, you can help reduce damage to your liver.”
If you do not, you may find the following:
- Easy brushing
- Bleeding in the gut
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol
- Liver cancer
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, or abdomen
- Bleeding blood
- Call appetite
“If you drink too much alcohol, especially over a long period of time, it is a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver,” Dr. Jarvis said.
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Cirrhosis of the liver – when a scarf lifts up – cannot be reversed, and it can stop the organ from functioning effectively.
It is highly recommended for anyone at this stage of the disease to take teetotal, which completely avoids alcohol.
What if I have no symptoms?
“It’s not clear how much and how often you need to drink to improve your chances of developing liver disease,” Drinkaware said.
“But all the research shows that the more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to develop liver disease.”
Current evidence suggests that other factors may increase a person’s likelihood of developing fatty liver disease.
For example, about seven out of 10 people with alcoholic liver disease have an alcohol dependence problem.
In addition, being overweight can make “many of the liver damage mechanisms caused by excessive drinking” worse.
Am I at risk of fatty liver?
Alcohol interferes with the way the liver handles fat, so drinking more than four drops a day for just two weeks will result in fatty liver.
Drinkaware said this will be true for women if more than two 175ml glasses of wine are consumed daily for a fortnight.
When fatty liver appears, you may feel a vague discomfort in the abdomen as the liver goes up.
However, if you stop drinking for two weeks, the liver should start peeling off excess fat.
“But if you don’t change your drinking pattern, that fatty liver is the first stage of developing liver disease,” Drinkaware said.