Alcoholic liver disease refers to hepatic effects of alcohol overconsumption. This includes alcoholic hepatitis, fatty liver, and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is chronic hepatitis with hepatic fibrosis.
The alcoholic liver disease is the major cause of liver disease in the Western countries. Though Fatty Liver (Steatosis) will manifest in any person who consumes an excess of alcohol over long periods of time, this condition is transitory and reversible. Among chronic drinkers, only 15-20% manifest Hepatitis or Cirrhosis.
Causes or Risk Factors for Alcoholic Liver Disease
Some of the causes of alcoholic liver disease are:
Excess consumption of alcohol: Men consuming 75-100ml/day for 20 years or more or women consuming 25 ml/day has higher risk of developing fibrosis and hepatitis to the tune of 47%.
Women are twice at risk of having an alcohol-related liver disease. They may develop the disease within shorter periods and smaller amounts of alcohol consumption. The higher proportion of body fat, the lower amount of alcohol dehydrogenase released in the gut and changes in absorption of fat due to menstruation are some of the factors responsible for this phenomenon.
The pattern of drinking: Drinking alcohol outside of meal times increases the risk of liver disease by 3 times.
Hepatitis C infection: This infection accelerates the condition of the alcoholic liver disease.
Genetic factors: These predispose propensity for alcoholism, as well as, alcoholic liver disease. For instance, both the monozygotic twins are predisposed to be alcoholics and hepatitis patients than both dizygotic twins. Polymorphism in the enzymes active in the metabolism of alcohol may explain the genetic factor. But currently, no specific polymorphisms have been firmly linked to an alcoholic liver disease.
Overload of iron: Hemochromatosis.
Diet: Malnutrition, especially deficiency of Vitamins E and A can make worse alcohol-induced liver damage by preventing regeneration of hepatocytes. Alcoholics are usually malnourished due to anorexia, poor diet, and encephalopathy.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Disease
The following are the symptoms of the disease:
Tenderness of abdomen
Fluid collection in abdomen
Loss of appetite
Unintended weight gain
Other symptoms include abnormally light or dark skin, agitation, breast development in men, mood swings, hallucinations and confusions, short term or long term amnesia, paleness, as well as, vomiting of blood.
Diagnosis of Alcoholic Liver Disease:
The doctor first examines the history of alcohol abuse, as well as, family history of the disease. He may order the following advanced tests such as
Liver function test
Ultrasound of abdomen
Abdominal CT scan
Treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease
If homeopathic treatment is taken early, this disease can be treated well. It helps to relieve symptoms of dark colored urine, jaundice, light-colored stool, joint pain, muscle pain, anorexia, fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever etc.
Homeopathy believes in individualistic treatment. It studies the patients’ case by case. Homeopathic medicines have proved their mettle by improving the condition of liver cells, thus improving the health of the liver. Medicines are totally safe, with no side effects, but to be taken only under the strict guidance of an expert homeopath. Homeopathic doctors also provide exercise schedules and diet charts to improve the lifestyle of the patients.