cirrhosis of the liver

Dr Nick Sheron

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver

The liver breaks down alcohol so that it can be eliminated from the body.

Prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption can damage the liver and this will prevent it from processing alcohol properly.

Liver diseases associated with alcohol include fatty liver (also known as steatosis), alcohol hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. While some of the symptoms of these diseases are minimal, other consequences can be very serious, including severe jaundice, blood clotting problems and, possibly, death. Prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption is also one of the factors associated with hepatocellular carcinoma, a primary cancer of the liver.

Liver disease that's associated with alcohol consumption is normally seen in alcoholics or those who've had a prolonged history of alcohol abuse. The risk of developing liver disease rises as the duration of alcohol use and the amount of alcohol consumed increases.

What is cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is perhaps the most well-known of the liver diseases associated with alcohol abuse.

It's a condition where scar tissue replaces normal liver tissue due to chronic injury – the word 'cirrhosis' means scarring. As the scarring progresses, it alters the liver's normal structure and interferes with the way it functions.

Cirrhosis of the liver can have very serious health consequences, including death.