The liver is one of the most complex organs in the human body with numerous functions such as storing energy, production of hormones and proteins, detoxification, regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol.
The liver is highly effective in regenerating itself, hence it takes a long time to notice liver damage, and this sometimes happens when the damage is irreversible.
Overconsumption of alcohol damages the liver, and this condition is called Alcoholic Liver Disease.
Alcoholic Liver Disease is the most common cause of liver disease in Western Countries and the third most common cause of liver transplant. According to the World Health Rankings, Nigeria has the second highest rate of Alcoholic Liver Disease with 64.44, after Egypt.
Alcoholic Liver Disease progresses in four stages: Stage 1 (Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), Stage 2 (Alcoholic Hepatitis), Stage 3 (Liver Fibrosis) and Stage 4 (Liver Cirrhosis).
Consumptuon of beer and any other form of alcoholic drink, malnutrition in alcoholics, drinking alcohol outside mealtimes, Hepatitis C viral infection, genetic factors and being a female alcohol consumer are the risk factors of Alcoholic Liver Disease.
As stated earlier, it takes a long time to detect Alcoholic Liver Disease. Meanwhile, a general feeling of being unwell, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, reduced appetite are some early signs that are often mistaken for other diseases. Oedema, tremors, muscle wasting, bleeding, presence of blood in vomits and stools, excessive weight loss and jaundice are some of the symptoms that are seen later on.
Alcoholic Liver Disease is often diagnosed during routine health checkups. This disease is detected early through laboratory tests. The tests include Serum Bilirubin, Liver Enzymes (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyl transferase), and Full Blood Count. A Liver Biopsy can also help in diagnosing it.
The most important method of treatment is Alcohol Abstinence. Lifestyle changes, medications and liver transplant are also effective in the treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease.
The main method of prevention is the abstinence or moderate consumption of alcohol.
Visit MedBioTech Laboratory for your routine checkups and the necessary diagnostic tests for detecting Alcoholic Liver Disease. This will help in quick intervention and management of the disease