What Does Alcohol Do To Your Liver?

 

For the curious at heart who have asked “what does alcohol do to your liver?” You’re in luck, this article, featured in Drink Aware, explains what our liver is used for and how it is affected by drinking too much alcohol.

This is a part of your body that does regular overtime.

The liver is our largest internal organ and it has 500 different roles. One of the liver’s most important functions is to break down food and convert it into energy when you need it. Your liver also helps the body to get rid of waste products and plays a vital role in fighting infections, particularly in the bowel (1).

And yet, when your liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it – until things get serious. Regularly drinking over the government’s lower risk guidelines can increase your risk of developing liver disease and cause irreparable damage to this very important part of your body.

In fact, this level of drinking is a major cause of the 25% increase in deaths from liver disease in England over the last decade (from 9,231 in 2001 to 11,575 in 2009) (2). Overall, alcoholic liver disease accounts for well over a third (37%) of liver disease deaths. And figures show victims of liver disease are getting younger – more than 1 in 10 of deaths of people in their 40s are from liver disease, most of them from alcoholic liver disease (3).

Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver in two main ways

Liver disease is the term used to describe damage to the liver and there are two types. Acute is when liver problems develop over a few months and chronic liver disease is damage over a number of years.

There are lots of different causes of liver disease, including drinking alcohol to excess which causes ‘alcoholic liver disease’. Scientists are not sure exactly why drinking too much alcohol can damage your liver but the reasons include:

  1. Oxidative stress. When our liver tries to break down alcohol, the resulting chemical reaction can damage its cells. This damage can lead to inflammation and scarring as the liver tries to repair itself.
  2. Toxins in gut bacteria. Alcohol can damage our intestine which lets toxins from our gut bacteria get into the liver. These toxins can also lead to inflammation and scarring.

Read more here.

If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking, Bridgeway Behavioral Health can help. Call us today 866-758-1152.

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