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?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    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

    a problem.

    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.

    http://www.amsa.org/resource/natlinit/alcohol.cfm

    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

    also.

    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

    is over.

    http://www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/hep/patientgu...

    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.

  • Alissa
    Lv 4
    4 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.

  • 1 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

    http://www.liverfoundation.org/education/info/alco...

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