Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is an umbrella term for liver damage caused by chronic alcohol abuse. Prolonged excessive alcohol consumption can reduce the livers’ ability to regenerate and can result in liver damage. ALD is normally divided into 3 stages; alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis depending on the level of build-up fat, inflammation and fibrosis.
How many have alcoholic liver disease?
Alcoholic Liver Disease prevalence differs across the world as the level of alcohol consumption, in general, is dependent on cultural acceptance. In the United States, it is estimated that 3-5% suffer from some degree of ALD.
How is alcoholic liver disease treated?
Currently, there is no specific treatment for ALD and the most successful intervention is to halt alcohol consumption. Elimination of alcohol consumption reduces the risk of further damage of the liver to where there is a chance of the liver recovering. By implementing life-style changes, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is reversible. However, alcoholic steatohepatitis pathology outlines in severe cases such as decompensated cirrhotics may require liver transplantation.
How is alcoholic liver disease or alcoholic steatohepatitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis of ALD and alcoholic steatohepatitis rely on blood tests to assess the liver function and questionnaires on alcohol consumption. If blood tests suggest decreased liver function and advanced liver damage, further tests including imaging and liver biopsies might be necessary to determine steatohepatitis pathology.
If you want to learn more, we have published a series of alcoholic liver disease articles that you can browse.