The liver is one of the most complex organs in the body and stores vital energy as well as nutrients. It also manufactures proteins and helps remove harmful toxins, like alcohol, from the body.
Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is a condition that occurs when a person drinks alcohol heavily, and at that time, the body starts replacing the liver’s healthy tissue with scar tissue. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to damage to the liver completely.
Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is the advanced and last stage of liver disease linked with drinking alcohol heavily and is the part of a progression.
The condition initiates with fatty liver disease after that progresses to alcoholic hepatitis, and at last alcoholic cirrhosis. In some cases, it is also possible a person can develop alcoholic liver cirrhosis without having alcoholic hepatitis.
Symptoms linked with Alcoholic liver cirrhosis
The symptoms of this condition generally progress with time and people with 30 to 40 years of age. The symptoms become more noticeable as the disease progresses. Some common symptoms include:
- Skin itching
- Portal hypertension
- Lack of appetite
- abdominal pain
- Losing muscle tone (atrophy)
- Fluid build-up and swelling of the legs
- Confusion, memory loss
How is the condition formed?
Each time your liver is injured due to disease, excessive alcohol consumption or because of another cause it tries to repair itself automatically and during this procedure, the scar tissue forms. As Alcoholic liver cirrhosis progresses, many scar tissue forms, which make it difficult for the liver to function (decompensated cirrhosis).
Advanced cirrhosis is life-threatening, and sadly the liver damage Alcoholic liver cirrhosis cannot be undone. However, if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed at an early stage and the cause is treated at early stages, further damage can be restricted and, reversed but in rare conditions.
How much alcohol causes the condition?
Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is a condition that occurs due to drinking alcohol for many years, and the more patients consume it, the more quickly the condition will develop. In men, the risk of liver cirrhosis increases if they drink more than three to five days per day for about ten years.
In women, if they drink at least two drinks per day for ten years, then they are at risk. Most people do not drink enough alcohol to develop cirrhosis from drinking. People who are addicted to alcohol and do not get treatment on time are at an increased risk for liver cirrhosis because they cannot control how much they drink.
Treatment of liver cirrhosis
The main aim of Treatment of Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is to prevent further damage to the liver, to treat complications of cirrhosis, as well as preventing or detecting liver cancer early. Liver Transplantation is an option for treating patients with advanced cirrhosis, and the cost of liver transplant in India is approximately 50,000 USD.
Steps to treat Alcoholic liver cirrhosis
There are many steps that doctors take before considering the surgery.
- The first step involves the focus and steps to take to get rid of alcohol from the diet. The time a person is diagnosed with Alcoholic liver cirrhosis at any stage, it is recommended never to resume drinking.
- Secondly, medications are given to reduce inflammation in patients having acute alcoholic hepatitis.
- Liver transplant is the last option to treat the condition and is recommended when the liver completely ceases to function. This condition is a result of advanced-stage liver disease and is the only option left for prolonged survival.
Specialists always recommend patients to quit alcohol to treat this condition early on. It is the best way to increase their chances of reversing or slowing the disease.
For surgery, people who can show at least six months of avoidance from alcohol before the liver transplant process and those who have healthy other organ systems enough to undergo surgery will be preferred for transplant. Some stages of the condition can be reversed; also, life expectancy can increase the time a person stops drinking alcohol completely.
Doctors recommend people to improve their quality of life like avoiding smoking, controlling extra body weight and to manage sugar levels, any heart, kidney, or lung diseases.