Are you taking part in Dry January this year? Drinking excessive levels of alcohol won’t just leave you with an epic hangover, it can also seriously damage your liver. Abstaining from alcohol during Dry January can help to reverse alcohol-related liver disease.
Many people are unaware of the different types of damage alcohol can do to their bodies. Over time, alcohol can damage the liver in several ways. Here, you’ll discover how to avoid the 3 types of alcohol-related liver damage.
Understanding the 3 types of alcohol-related liver damage
Alcohol can damage the liver in several different ways. It typically causes 3 main types of damage including:
- Hepatic Steatosis (fat accumulation)
- Alcoholic Hepatitis (Inflammation)
Hepatic Steatosis is the least dangerous type of damage caused by alcohol. It is thought that over 90% of those who drink too much alcohol experience an accumulation of fat in the liver. In some cases, the damage can be reversed.
Alcoholic Hepatitis affects up to 35% of people who drink too much. It causes the liver to become inflamed.
Cirrhosis is said to affect 10% to 20% of people, causing the tissue of the liver to be replaced with scar tissue. This causes problems for the function of the liver, making it difficult for it to do its job. Over time, the liver will start to shrink, and it can lead to severe complications. These include portal hypertension, fluid accumulation, bleeding within the digestive tract, and liver failure.
Risk factors to be aware of
While anyone can develop alcohol-related liver disease, some people do have a higher risk factor than others. The main risk factors include:
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly
- Long-term drinking
The more alcohol you drink and the more frequently you drink it, the more at risk you are of developing liver disease. If you have been drinking for over 8 years and you are female, you are also at a greater risk.
These are just some of the most common risk factors to be aware of.
How can you prevent it?
The most obvious way to prevent alcohol-related liver disease is to cut down your consumption of alcohol. The less you drink, the less likely it is to damage the liver. Start by ensuring you aren’t going over the recommended guidelines. Or, better still, take part in Dry January, or lay off the drink for a longer period of time for more health benefits.
Watching out for the signs of liver disease will also help you to seek treatment quickly if it does develop. These include fatigue, a tender or painful liver, jaundice, and fever.
If you do suspect you have alcohol-related liver damage, seek medical advice as soon as possible. There are effective treatment options available, and like any disease, catching it early will help you to treat it successfully.