Alcoholic fatty liver disease

Description of Alcoholic fatty liver disease

The term alcoholic liver disease refers to medical conditions and their respective symptoms which develop due to liver damage by alcohol abuse and misuse. When the disease occurs, it may not cause any symptoms in the early stages, until the person’s liver has undergone extensive damage.
Causes and Risk Factors 
The most common causes are:
1. Excessive alcohol consumption for a long span of time
2. Sporadic drinking, unusual and irregular drinking, and binge drinking

Stages of Fatty liver disease

1. Hepatitis: Alcohol may cause inflammatory swelling in the liver known as hepatitis.
2. Scarring: Cytokines released in alcohol metabolism leads to scaring of liver cells, which eventually can cause fibrosis and Cirrhosis of liver.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of the disease are generally vague and may not be indicative how severe the condition is. In initial stage, the symptoms may present as:
1. Fatigue
2. Vomiting and nausea
3. Unease
4. Giddiness
5. Drowsiness
6. Loss of weight
7. Loss of appetite

In advanced cases of the disease, the sufferer may display more concrete liver-related symptoms such as:
1. Jaundice or yellowing of skin, mucous membrane and/or eyes
2. Hematemesis (blood in the vomiting)
3. Collection of fluids in the abdomen that brings about distension
4. Encephalopathy: It is characterized by confusion, altered sleep patterns, and reduced levels of awareness. This may later progress to a coma.
1. Your doctor will check for the following, 
a) Parotid (salivary gland) and lacrimal gland (liquid producing glands in eyes) enlargement
b) Spleen enlargement
c) Liver tenderness
d) Palmer redness
e) Jaundice
f) Clubbing in the nails (softening of nail beds with deformed nails)

2. You doctor may ask you to perform tests such as liver function test.

3. Test to check the liver enzyme level (generally is altered in this case)

4. Blood test to check for:
a) Anemia
b) Leukocytosis or leukopenia (decrease in number of white blood cells)
c) Thrombocytopenia (decrease in number of platelets in the blood)
d) Hyperglycemia (increased glucose level in blood)
5. To check for elevated blood ammonia level
6. To check for respiratory alkalosis (rise in alkaline content)
7. To check for levels of:
a) Sodium
b) Potassium
c) Phosphate
d) Magnesium
Treatment includes:

1. General treatment,
a) Make sure you stop alcohol consumption completely. If the person has not yet suffered cirrhosis, the liver may still heal fully if alcohol abstinence is fully achieved.
2. Treat malnutrition with healthy meal that would include fruits along with the vitamin supplements.
3. Medications will include corticosteroids for alcoholic hepatitis. Prednisolone 40 mg/day or methylprednisolone 28 mg/day is administered for stipulated period as per the need. It is used cautiously in diabetics, gastrointestinal bleeding, and various infections.
4. Symptomatic treatment for conditions such as, 
a) Fever
b) Nausea
c) Vomiting
d) Giddiness
5. Liver transplant: It may be required in severe liver damage.
Content Details
Last updated on:
04 Sep 2017 | 10:26 AM (IST)
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