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Does Alcohol Cause Fatty Liver Disease?

You may think you already know everything there is to know about alcohol and its effects on your body. But did you know alcohol is processed almost entirely in the liver? Or did you know that excessive alcohol is what causes fatty liver

Alcohol is what causes fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis. The official medical term for fatty liver is hepatic steatosis. The problem with alcohol causing fatty liver is almost everyone has a different opinion of how much alcohol it takes to cause this kind of liver injury. 

What is known is the liver processes all toxins in what you eat and drink, and it also processes the toxins in alcohol. Each person’s liver is different; therefore, determining the level of alcohol toxins your liver can process varies from person to person. Some people are much more susceptible and sensitive to alcohol than others.

Most of the time, doctors recommend no more than two drinks per day. Read on to learn more about what causes fatty liver disease and what you can do to help yourself or someone in your life who may be at risk.

What Causes Fatty Liver Disease

Hepatic Steatosis is what’s known as Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. The major concern among physicians is that many people with Fatty Liver Disease wait until it’s almost too late to be medically helped. The reason for the delay is in part because people suffering from fatty liver disease often don’t show any symptoms.

The three common stages of alcohol-induced Fatty Liver Disease are:

  1. Fatty liver – This is when your liver is building up fat as you drink excessively. The liver tries to break down the alcohol toxins as you drink. Eventually, the liver can’t keep up with breaking down all the toxins and fatty substances accumulate.
    • The accumulation of fat begins to damage your liver cells. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the very earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease.
  2. Alcoholic hepatitis – is the second stage of liver disease when the cells of the liver swell. The disease usually occurs in people who have drunk heavily over many years. 
  3. The last stage of Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is Cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the advanced form of fatty liver disease. Your liver has become stiff, swollen, and is barely able to do its job or process any toxins.

In some cases, steatosis can be reversed by the cessation of drinking any alcohol. But if you don’t quit drinking, the word steatosis translates into liver cell death. Liver cell death means what it says as the disease is a slow, painful way the liver dies.

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The Links Between Liver Issues and Alcohol

Untreated alcoholism results in liver issues, severe health issues, and sometimes kills you. The linkage between your liver and alcohol are well-researched and documented. No alcoholic should quit drinking cold turkey without medical supervision.

The risk to your health and is too great to leave to withdrawal chance. That’s because of all the substances you can be addicted to, alcohol is one of the few that can kill you as you go through withdrawal. The linkage between active alcoholism and damage to your liver include but isn’t limited to:

  1. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of deaths from fatty liver disease in the U.S was over 20,000 last year.
  2. 20% of all liver transplants occur as a result of alcoholic liver disease. 
  3. Alcoholic liver disease is the main cause of liver disease in Western nations.
  4. The only way your liver can recover is by abstaining from alcohol completely.

Once someone is in the later stage of fatty liver disease, the symptoms are easier to see and recognize.

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Alcoholic Hepatitis or the Last Stage of Fatty Liver Disease

There are distinct signs of Alcoholic Hepatitis or Cirrhosis as the last stages of fatty liver disease. The signs and symptoms are somewhat easy to notice and not easy to treat or recover from. Some of these symptoms and signs include:

  • Water retention of swelling of the lower limbs from edema
  • Abdomen distention from the buildup of fluid 
  • Shivering and feeling feverish
  • Yellow tint in the white of the eyes or jaundice
  • Itchy and scaly skin
  • Bloody stools
  • Weakness and no appetite

If your alcoholic fatty liver disease symptoms are as noticeable as some of the symptoms listed above, you need to seek medical treatment immediately. Your condition may not be reversible. The longer you wait, the less chance you have of reversing the severe damage alcohol has caused your liver.

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Fatty Liver Disease Recovery

There are a lot of options as to how you move forward once you start having symptoms of fatty liver disease. The most vital and important one is to seek help for your alcoholism and never attempt to go through alcohol withdrawal without medical supervision and assistance. The good news is if you stop drinking without fibrosis being present, fatty liver disease and inflammation can be reversed.

When you go through alcohol rehab, and therapy fatty livers can reverse damage in as little as six weeks. But you must abstain from all alcohol and follow the health tips and diet your doctor recommends for optimum future health.

The Next Step

The next step for anyone concerned about what causes fatty liver is the most important one. That’s because the next step is the hardest one to make as it is your first step to recovery. The most beneficial alcohol treatment programs focus on individualized care for your recovery.

That’s because, just like no two livers are the same, neither are two alcoholics identical in their health issues, withdrawal symptoms, and recovery needs. The best treatment centers design very personalized treatment plans to meet the needs of each client. Therapy usually includes group therapy, individualized treatment, and recreational wellness activities. Every treatment program is meant to provide clients with the tools they need to overcome their alcohol addiction. When you’re ready to learn about the tools needed that can lead to an alcohol-free path, reach out to Riverwalk Ranch. Riverwalk Ranch will be on the alcohol-free path with you every step of the way until you can chart your own healthy course forward.

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