Alcoholism and Cirrhosis of the Liver
Before your cirrhosis reaches the last stages of the disease, you can arrest the progression of the disease with addiction treatment. You can learn to live without the alcohol and manage your liver disease. Call Recovery Connection now and find a treatment facility that can address your medical and addiction needs simultaneously. 800-993-3869. Treatment is only a phone call away.
The liver assists with the digestive system by producing substances to break down lipids and fats in order to make foods more digestible . The liver also helps filter toxins that are received from the intestines, through the blood stream before the blood is pumped through the rest of the body. The liver produces key blood proteins involved in metabolism, general physiologic regulation, and blood clotting.
Other functions of a healthy liver include:
- Control of infection
- Production of bile to absorb fat
- Metabolism of hormones
Cirrhosis of the liver is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when scar tissue damages the liver. The scarring, called fibrosis, replaces healthy tissue and prevents the liver from functioning properly. Cirrhosis usually develops after years of chronic liver inflammation produced by ingesting toxins at a rate that the liver is unable to filter adequately because of ongoing damage. Research has shown that the two major causes of cirrhosis of the liver are consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol over the course of many years (alcoholism), and certain forms of viral hepatitis such as Hepatitis B or C. Other causes can be medication related, metabolic disorders, and fatty liver disease.
There are a variety of diseases or disorders which disrupt the liver's proper function. The most common are:
- Hepatitis: caused by the virus (HCV), drinking, drugs, and/or obesity
- Cirrhosis: long term liver damage most commonly caused by alcoholism
- Liver cancer: can be idiopathic, due to alcohol or drug abuse, or Hepatitis C
- Liver failure: caused by infection, genetic diseases, drugs or poisons, and/or alcoholism
Cirrhosis has been linked to excessive and chronic alcohol intake, such as that associated with alcoholism. Women are particularly vulnerable to the liver disease associated with alcohol addiction because women have less enzymes than men which means they metabolize alcohol in more slowly.
Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease that can be halted if treated in the early disease stage. However, with long term alcohol and drug addiction, cirrhosis of the liver or chronic liver damage will continue to occur. At some point, the liver damage becomes irreversible, and no amount of treatment can lead to a fully-functioning liver. The behaviors associated with alcoholism, such as a poor diet and lack of medical follow-up, also place the liver at risk.
Alcoholism contributes to the development of cirrhosis is a disease that develops in phases. The condition of scarring worsens as cirrhosis continues to develop. Scar tissue surrounds the normal liver cells, making the tissue bumpy or nodular. This bumpy liver tissue will block the bile ducts causing bile to back up into the liver and bloodstream. Scar tissue will also block blood flow into the liver. Lack of blood flow will enlarge the veins and lead to high blood pressure (portal hypertension), making the movement of blood from the liver to the intestines difficult. At this point the liver is unable to metabolize alcohol and this produces many visible physical symptoms.
Symptoms of liver damage from cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Spider like blood vessels
- Abnormal bleeding
Acetaminophen a compound found in many narcotic drugs such as hydrocodone and Percocet, is toxic to the liver. Abuse of such drugs can have a disastrous impact upon the user's liver.
There are many stages to cirrhosis of the liver. If you stop drinking alcohol, you can stop the progression of alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver. In early stages, liver damage is reversible. Call Recovery Connection now 800-993-3869 and regain your health.
Acetaminophen a compound found in many over the counter medication as well as narcotic drugs such as hydrocodone, is toxic to the liver. Abuse of such drugs can have a disastrous impact upon the user's liver
Intravenous drug use, as well as years of living with hepatitis B or C, can also leave people vulnerable to cirrhosis. As with any addiction, drug addicts are sometimes not careful or hygienic and may use dirty needles. Dirty needles allow bacteria into the bloodstream that can produce infections and contribute to the development of hepatitis B or C.
Liver damage can be reversed, but once cirrhosis has developed, the liver cannot be healed. The condition can be managed with treatment and healthy diet. A liver function test can monitor the progression or regression of cirrhosis. Once cirrhosis reaches advanced stages, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Although cirrhosis of the liver may not be completely healed, or a liver transplant may be necessary and the quality of one’s life can be improved greatly by eliminating drugs and alcohol. Before anyone can be placed on the waiting list for a liver transplant, he or she must have mental health and addiction issues treated and stabilized. If the liver disease has not yet progressed to full-blown cirrhosis, the liver is likely to respond positively to aggressive and appropriate substance abuse treatment and the resultant cessation of alcohol and drug abuse.
Entering a medically-based drug rehab or alcohol rehab can provide you with expertise in addiction medicine as well as the experience of treating co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions. Remember, the medical physician and psychiatrist must work together to make sure that none of the prescribed medications will be toxic to the liver or create or propagate further liver compromise.
Drug addiction and alcoholism destroy the body's ability to function properly and fight off disease. After years of using, treatment can still work. Success at maintaining sobriety is increased with a medical drug or alcohol detox immediately followed by addiction treatment.
To handle medical problems combined with addiction problems, such as alcoholism and cirrhosis, an addict needs to be in a facility that can respond medically and clinically to all types of medical situations. Your quality of life will be greatly improved with drug and alcohol treatment and proper care of your cirrhosis.
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