Anyone know exactly how abusing alcohol shuts down your liver?
I have to do a project on the liver, and I know that drinking too much alcohol can harm it. Anyone know exactly what happens?
- abijannLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Some people can drink alcohol all their lives
and never have a problem. Other are so
sensitive to it, that just mild drinking can cause
Alcohol is considered a drug. Almost all drugs
are metabolized through the liver to be
broken down before going to the rest of the
body. The liver also handles toxins and tries
to convert these toxins into a non toxic form
to be disposed of by the body in the urine.
The liver takes alcohol and tries to convert
it into acetaldehyde. Most of the time,
with just a slight amount of consumption...
it can do this. However, when there is
an high consumption, it cannot do this well.
Some of the alcohol doesn't get converted
because the liver isn't able to handle that
amount and then both the alcohol that
isn't change and the acetaldehyde, made
from some of it being changed, can become
a toxin to the liver cells and cause damage
to them. Usually, it starts out as fat build
up inside the cells...then as it progresses
the cells do become damaged. When this
happens, the immune system responds to
this damage and tries to clean up the area
and help the area to heal. This causes
inflammation to develop in the area then.
If the inflammation is treated and the
alcohol is stopped in time, then the liver
cells may heal. However, if this is not
done...the inflammation will lead to the death
of the liver cells and the forming of
scar tissue (fibrosis) inside the liver. This
is then a disease known as Cirrhosis.
The scar tissue blocks the flow of blood
through the liver on it way back to the heart,
and it also blocks the flow of blood to the
other cells of the liver and then they lack
the oxygen and nourishment...and they
die also. It is a progressive disease that
the doctors can only try to slow down.
Here is a article that explains what happens
as you drink alcohol and what takes place
as it goes through the body.
Alcohol is one of the drugs that can cross the
blood brain barrier very easily. The blood
brain barrier usually blocks out things so
that the brain isn't injured or affected. Most
drugs cannot go pass this: street drugs,
Alcohol, depressants, and some chemicals can.
Hope this information has been of help to you.
If you want more studies on what alcohol can
do. Taking the drug: acetaminophen
(over the counter pain medication) with
alcohol...can cause immediate damage to
the liver cells. There are other drugs taken
with alcohol that this happens with also.
You might want to look that up on the internet
If you are really interested in finding out what
happens to a patient with cirrhosis of the
liver caused by alcohol...here is a site
that will explain the Liver Transplant process.
It might be a wake up call to all those who
"abuse" this drug. A Liver Transplant can
cost over $250,000...that is a low estimate...
the anti rejections drugs are very expensive,
and they have to be taken the rest of their
life. Also, they will be stuck with the medical
profession the rest of their life. There is
no turning back once they are diagnosed
with cirrhosis of the liver. There are no
guarantees that they will be placed on the
transplant list after a long evaluation process
of much testing and seeing different doctors.
It used to be that a patient had to be free
of alcohol for a period of 6 months before
they would even be considered placement
on this list...now they are taking it on a case
by case basis. If cirrhosis advances fast,
many die before even being placed on the
list because of this. There is no guarantee that
an organ will be available for them when they
are suppose to be transplanted or that the
organ will work once placed inside of them or
that it won't go into rejection after the operation
I hope you do well on your project...
- 1 decade ago
Alcohol abuse can do extensive damage to the liver. It is because when a person drinks alcohol, it mixes with the blood and then it initially goes through the liver first. Moreover, the liver has enzymes which breaks down alcohol into other chemicals, and then broken down into water and carbon dioxide. The final result of the breakdown would be in the urine. If the liver is abused due to alcoholism, many illnesses would then settle in like impotence, hepatitis, alcohol addiction, nerve tissue damage,. stomach disorders, cancer, and hypertension. In order for a person to avoid these diseases and to prevent liver damage, is to never consume too much alcohol.Source(s): http://www.malibuhorizon.com/
- AlissaLv 44 years ago
Sorry to say, but it doesn't sound good. When liver and kidneys start to shut down, it isn't much longer for the rest of the body to shut down too. If liver and kidneys are not working, toxins build in the body which are usually fatal. I am very sorry for what you are going through, but do want to say that your uncle's drinking is his fault-not yours. I don't care if you gave him money because if you didn't, he would have found a way to get alcohol. You mentioned he had stolen beer so he would have done anything. Please do not blame yourself for your uncle's disease. That is probably why he is in the condition that he is in right now. Alcoholism kills. Just spend whatever quality time you can with him in whatever time he has left. I can't stress enough that you are NOT to blame. I have been through living with my ex who had a drinking problem. I tried controlling his drinking and whatever I could to get him to stop. I also bought him alcohol. It was his disease and when I went for help, realized that it wasn't my fault, but he was sick just like people who get other diseases. If he had diabetes or another health condition, would you blame yourself? Just remember your uncle has a disease and it is no one's fault. Prayers and good wishes for you.
- nochocolateLv 71 decade ago
Alcohol-Induced Liver Disease
What is the liver's role in processing alcohol?
The liver breaks down alcohol so it can be eliminated from your body. If you consume more alcohol than the liver can process, the resulting imbalance can injure the liver by interfering with its normal breakdown of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
What are the types of alcohol-induced liver disease?
There are three kinds of liver disease related to alcohol consumption:
Fatty liver is marked by a build-up of fat cells in the liver. Usually there are no symptoms, although the liver may be enlarged and you may experience discomfort in your upper abdomen. Fatty liver occurs in almost all people who drink heavily. The condition will improve after you stop drinking.
Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Up to 35 percent of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis. Symptoms may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and tenderness, fever and jaundice. In its mild form, alcoholic hepatitis can last for years and will cause progressive liver damage. The damage may be reversible if you stop drinking. In its severe form, the disease may occur suddenly, after binge drinking, and it can quickly lead to life-threatening complications.
Alcoholic cirrhosis is the most serious type of alcohol-induced liver disease. Cirrhosis refers to the replacement of normal liver tissue with scar tissue. Between 10 and 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis, usually after 10 or more years of drinking. Symptoms of cirrhosis are similar to those of alcoholic hepatitis. The damage from cirrhosis is not reversible, and it is a life-threatening disease. Your condition may stabilize if you stop drinking.
Many heavy drinkers will progress from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis and finally to alcoholic cirrhosis, though the progression may vary from patient to patient. The risk of developing cirrhosis is particularly high for people who drink heavily and have another chronic liver disease such as viral hepatitis C
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