Is Alcoholic Hepatitis Reversible?
For so many people alcohol is just a part of an everyday routine, and it’s such a part of our culture that we may not even give a lot of thought to the damage alcohol, particularly when used in excess, can do. It can damage not only lives but also physical health.
One way alcohol affects your health is through the development of a condition called alcoholic hepatitis.
What is alcoholic hepatitis? Is alcoholic hepatitis reversible?
Below is more information about alcoholic hepatitis and what people should know about this condition and whether or not it’s reversible.
When you drink excessively over a certain period of time your liver is responsible for processing the alcohol. When your liver processes alcohol, it produces toxic chemicals, and those chemicals can injure your liver, lead to inflammation and ultimately cause alcoholic hepatitis.
It should be noted that alcoholic hepatitis is different from hepatitis C, which is a blood-borne disease that comes from having unprotected sex or sharing needles. While the two are different, if you have hepatitis C and drink heavily you may be at a higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis isn’t extremely common in heavy drinkers, but it does occur, and it can occur in moderate drinkers as well.
Doctors believe that in addition to alcohol consumption, other factors linked to the development of alcoholic hepatitis include genetic differences that dictate how the body processes alcohol, and the presence of other liver disorders, such as hepatitis C.
Other factors that may contribute to a higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis include malnutrition and drinking when you’re not eating a meal. Women are also more likely than men to develop this condition, which may speak to the differences in how they absorb and process alcohol as compared to men.
There is variance in how the symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis show up, based on how much liver damage is done. When alcoholic hepatitis is still in its milder stages, it’s possible not to notice any symptoms, but as the damage progresses symptoms can include appetite changes, dry mouth, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms can include swelling or pain in the abdomen, yellowing of the eyes or skin, fever, confusion, and fatigue.
If a doctor believes someone is exhibiting the signs of alcoholic hepatitis, they will generally do an exam that can include a complete blood count, test of liver function, or an ultrasound of the liver. In some cases, a liver biopsy might be done.
Along with drinking and being a woman, other risk factors possibly linked to alcoholic hepatitis include obesity, race and ethnicity, and a habit of binge drinking.
With alcoholic hepatitis, are there treatment options and is alcoholic hepatitis reversible?
First, if you are diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, you will have to stop drinking right away. Even if your physician tells you the damage isn’t reversible, it’s important to stop drinking to prevent further damage.
If you feel like you’re unable to stop drinking, you should seek professional help through the detox and treatment process.
Other treatments for alcoholic hepatitis can include various medications designed to help restore the functionality of the liver and alleviate inflammation.
For people with alcoholic hepatitis who are also malnourished, treatment may include supplemental vitamins and nutrients.
For people with severe alcoholic hepatitis damage, a liver transplant may be required, but in order to qualify for a new liver, patients must stop drinking for at least six months.
The outlook for patients diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis depends on the severity and extent of the damage, and whether or not they stop drinking.
Complications that can arise because of alcoholic hepatitis include high blood pressure in the liver, enlarged veins and a condition called ascites where fluid builds up in the abdomen and becomes infected. Also possible are cirrhosis or kidney failure.
If you want to prevent the possibility of developing alcoholic hepatitis, you should ensure that if you drink you do so in moderation, and you should educate yourself about the risks of mixing certain medicines and alcohol. For example, never mix alcohol and acetaminophen.
For some people, the symptoms may be nonexistent or mild, but generally, once the symptoms become more pronounced, you have a more severe case of alcoholic hepatitis.
Is alcoholic hepatitis reversible? It can be, depending on the severity of the case a person has. Regardless the first thing you should do if you receive a diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis is stop drinking because even if your case isn’t reversible, continuing to drink can make it worse and can make your prognosis worse as well.
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