Alcoholic hepatitis is a disease caused by drinking alcohol. The disease causes fat to build up in the liver cells, as well as inflammation and even scarring of the liver. The condition occurs most often in heavy drinkers. Those who have drunk heavily for several years and have poisonous levels of alcohol in their bodies are most at risk.
Alcohol and the liver
Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is an ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor that can cause intoxication. Alcohol affects every organ in the body as well as the central nervous system. The effect of alcohol on a person depends directly on the amount they consume. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to a variety of health problems. It can result in serious health problems including:
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- High blood pressure
- Psychological disorders
- Alcohol abuse or dependence
In pregnant women, alcohol can harm the fetus or increase the chances of sudden infant death syndrome. Being reckless with alcohol can also lead to unintentional motor accidents and violence.
Alcoholic hepatitis and the liver
When the liver becomes inflamed due to infection, disease, drugs, poisons, or excessive alcohol, it is referred to as hepatitis. Infectious hepatitis commonly includes hepatitis A, B, or C. All of these forms are caused by viral infections. The liver is a two-lobed organ found in the upper-right part of the torso. It is responsible for many functions and substances within the body, including:
- Immune factor
- Producing blood plasma protein
- Storing and releasing glucose
- Storing iron
- Converting ammonia to urea
- Controlling blood clotting
- Processing drugs and poisonous substances
- Removing bacteria from the blood
- Clearing bilirubin from the body
Hepatitis C (HCV) affects thousands of people each year. Some of those with HCV experience only an acute illness, in which the illness is experienced within 6 months of exposure. However, 75-85 percent of those infected will progress to a chronic, potentially lifelong infection.