When it comes to the effects of alcohol on the internal organs, first of all, mention its toxic effects on the liver. Statistics show, in particular, that people who abuse alcohol have liver cirrhosis seven times more often than non-drinkers.
Not only cirrhosis, but those who consume more alcohol have also more increased risk of jaundice, liver failure, liver cancer, and many other diseases.
Who are Heavy Drinkers?
Those who consume more than 15 drinks per week ( for men ) and eight drinks per week ( for women ).
How much alcohol does it take to damage your liver?
You must know the fact how much alcohol causes liver damage- As we have already answered this question by indicating heavy drinkers. More than 2-3 drinks per day can cause serious problems to your liver.
If you are finding ways to stop alcohol drinking then this might be helpful for you –
How does alcohol damage the liver? Pathophysiology
No wonder the liver is called the main chemical laboratory of our body. It passes about 720 liters of blood per day. And this process is far from mechanical: 300 billion liver cells – hepatocytes are constantly processing chemical and biological “raw materials”, transforming some substances into others.
Here, in the liver cells, many toxic substances that are formed in the body or get into it from the outside are neutralized. Here are the main chemical transformations of the constituent elements of food; treatment with liver enzymes, before entering the general bloodstream, are all substances that are absorbed into the blood from the stomach and intestines.
Alcohol is no exception: the entire cycle of its chemical transformations is carried out with the participation of cellular enzymes of the liver. But the breakdown products of alcohol, formed during its oxidation, interfere with the finely balanced metabolic processes occurring in hepatocytes and disrupt them, in particular grossly distorted fat metabolism.
With the help of special research methods, it was established that even a single dose of a large dose of alcohol leads to serious changes in the function of liver cells.
However, in a healthy body due to its high compensatory capacity, these disorders are quickly eliminated. But if a person drinks regularly, the pathological changes become persistent.
And the more frequent and massive attacks of alcohol, the more hepatocytes are involved in the pathological process.
The first phase of alcoholic liver disease occurs – obesity. Obesity of liver cells (fatty dystrophy) in people addicted to alcohol is quite common.
All structural components – cell organelles – are deformed, the cytoplasm is almost completely filled with fat, the nucleus is displaced to the periphery.
The cell increases in size, but its useful, working area decreases. Obese hepatocytes are unable to perform their duties.
If in the initial stages of liver damage there is increased activity of alcohol dehydrogenase – the main enzyme that breaks down alcohol, then there is a decrease, due to depletion of cells. The liver, not only deteriorates metabolic processes but also suffers from its barrier function. Clinicians are aware of cases where fatty degeneration of liver cells caused sudden death.
Obesity of the liver, as a rule, is accompanied by inflammatory processes of its tissue – creates a favorable background for the development of alcoholic hepatitis.
There are dull, painful, aching pain in the right hypochondrium, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, immediately before eating. At an early stage, when the inflammatory process has not gone too far, it is possible to achieve partial and sometimes complete normalization of the structure and function of the organ (this applies equally to obesity).
An important factor is the time factor: the less experience of alcohol abuse, the greater the hope for healing. The main tactic in the fight against alcoholic hepatitis is to eliminate the root cause of the disease.
This means a categorical abstinence from alcohol, including wine and beer. If a person continues to drink (even occasionally a little), liver cells, unable to withstand chronic alcohol intoxication, die. Cirrhosis of the liver develops.
The place of dead cells is occupied by connective tissue, the liver is covered with scars. Connective tissue strands deform the liver lobes, changes the vascular architecture, and liver capacity decreases.
Blood begins to stagnate in the blood vessels of the stomach, esophagus, intestines, pancreas: the preconditions are created for the rupture of vessel walls and internal bleeding.
Affected by cirrhosis, the liver ceases to be “the most faithful guardian of the body.” preconditions are created for rupture of walls of vessels and internal bleedings.
Its functional potential drops sharply, leading to various pathological changes in metabolism, digestion, blood circulation, because these complex processes of the body are directly dependent on the liver.
Studies have shown that cirrhosis of the liver disrupts protein metabolism, and this has the most adverse effect on blood composition.
The body’s defenses are reduced, and its susceptibility to various diseases increases. Carbohydrate metabolism also suffers, in connection with which the level of sugar in the blood rises, less glycogen is formed in the liver, and the assimilation of carbohydrates by body tissues is difficult.
What are the long-term effects of alcohol on the liver?
The effect of chronic alcohol consumption on liver function- If anyone takes more alcohol on a regular basis then it causes the destruction of liver cells. The cell destruction results in cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and cellular mutation. This can cause liver cancer.
How many years of drinking before liver damage?
It depends on the individual. The complication may develop after 5 to 10 years of regular alcohol consumption. Commonly it takes about 20 to 30 years where the liver gets damaged and causes serious health issues. Sometimes, the individual never experiences any complication or end-stage liver disease. So, it is impossible to tell if a person will suffer from liver disease.
It is known that the liver plays an important role in the regulation of coagulation and anticoagulant systems. In alcoholics, the imbalance of these systems is expressed in different ways: some easily bleed, others – blood clots, which leads to blockage of blood vessels.
Studies in recent years have traced a direct link between sparse but regular drinking and liver damage. Numerous data show that fatty liver disease develops on average after 5-10 years of alcohol abuse, cirrhosis – after 15-20 years. This is worth thinking about…
If you have an alcohol addiction and symptoms of liver damage then you get the treatment as soon as possible.