Alcohol is most frequently used beverage worldwide as a social drink. Globally about 5 million people die per year due to alcohol related problems. Maximum of these deaths are due to liver related diseases. Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of liver caused due to excessive and regular consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol is a toxin and it is metabolized in liver. Due to its toxicity liver is gradually damaged and inflamed affecting its function. Daily drinking can also lead to serious liver disease known as cirrhosis besides alcoholic hepatitis. Jaundice, fever, and evidence from laboratory testing are characteristic of alcohol hepatitis.
In its early stage, the condition can be reversed by quitting alcohol and eating proper diet as the liver cells can rejuvenate if damage causing substance is withdrawn.
What Causes Alcoholic Hepatitis?
Alcohol hepatitis affects both heavy and moderate drinkers. The main processing organ for alcohol in the body is liver. Alcohol is toxic for the body as it contains chemicals that damage the cells. As alcohol is metabolized by liver, the chemicals in alcohol cause damage to the liver cells and they inflame.
Researchers are not sure the way alcohol cause damage to liver cells as alcoholic hepatitis develops in some heavy drinkers.It can also develop in people who drink in moderate amount. Other factors that may contribute inflammatory changes in liver cells among people who drink alcohol are presence of liver disease such as hepatitis B and C, malnourishment, genetic makeup, smoking etc.
As compared to men, women are at greater risk of developing alcohol hepatitis. In female body alcohol takes more time to get metabolized. Alcohol thus remains for longer time in women’s body increasing the risk of inflammation.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis may or may not be perceptible. This may depend on severity of the condition. In mild form of hepatitis the symptoms remain subdued. With major damage to liver cells, patient may experience host of symptoms. Patient begins to feel unwell. Below are given common symptoms of alcohol hepatitis.
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Dryness in mouth
- Yellow colored urine
- Confused state of mind.
- Extreme feeling of tiredness.
- Pain in right upper quadrant of abdomen.
- Increased abdominal girth due to collection of fluid in abdomen.
- Women suffer more florid symptoms of alcohol hepatitis.
Diagnosis Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis is based on history of significant alcohol intake, clinical symptoms, signs and supporting laboratory tests. Laboratory tests are essential to confirm the diagnosis. Medical attendant will examine the patient and take detailed medical history.
He may recommend certain tests such as complete blood count, liver function test, sonography of liver and upper abdomen and CT scan in some cases. Liver biopsy is useful if the non invasive tests are inconclusive. It may be also useful to rule out other probable diseases of liver.
Natural Remedies For Alcoholic Hepatitis
Treatment of alcoholic hepatitis often depends on the extent of damage alcohol has caused to the liver. But in any case the first and foremost advice to the patient suffering from alcoholic hepatitis is to completely abstain from alcohol. Often in moderate stage the chances of reversal of the disease are promising after quitting alcohol.
Even if the damage is severe patient has to completely stop drinking alcohol to reduce rapid progression of the condition. Alcohol is addictive therefore patient needs counseling and help from family members and friends. Sometimes patient needs to be placed in rehabilitation center if he is unable to quit the addiction.
- Patients suffering from alcoholic hepatitis should reduce intake of fats. Instead eat vegetables and fruits in ample amount. Patient should also avoid spicy and oily food as it burdens the already damaged liver.
- Milk thistle is a natural remedy which helps the liver to rejuvenate from the mild to moderate damage.
- Green tea is another important home remedy that helps to strengthen liver due to antioxidants present in it.