Alcoholic liver disease has been claiming more and more lives as the years pass.
Alcohol has been considered as one of the best and cheapest sedatives of our time. Therefore, it is no wonder that more and more people are suffering from alcohol related conditions, one of them being alcoholic liver disease. This is one of the most common complications of alcoholism. So, what is alcoholic liver disease and can we avoid it? Read on to find out.
The Basics of Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholic liver disease is a condition that stems from too much alcohol intake. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the main perpetrators of this condition. There are three types of alcoholic liver disease:
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver
This is a condition where fat is accumulated in the liver due to alcohol intake. Alcohol damages your liver in such a way that it can no longer metabolize fat, resulting to fatty liver. The onset of fatty liver could be as quick as after 3 days of alcohol binging. A lot of people could be suffering from fatty liver and not know it, because not all of them could be manifesting symptoms. The good news about fatty liver is that it is still reversible. One would only need to abstain from alcohol consumption, and the liver would regenerate itself.
- Alcoholic Hepatitis
This is the inflammation of the liver that is caused by too much alcohol intake. The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis vary from person to person. There would be some that would not show any symptoms at all, while there would be others that would have severe symptoms. Common symptoms would be nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort and right-sided abdominal pain. People would be happy to know that abstaining from alcohol intake would cure alcohol hepatitis.
- Alcoholic Cirrhosis
This is the scarring of liver tissue caused by too much alcohol intake. It is non-reversible. It also puts a person at greater risk for developing liver cancer. The symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis are also a lot more serious than that of the previous two. They would include: ascites, anorexia, edema, fatigue and weight loss. Although this condition is irreversible, the outcome of the disease could be improved by abstaining from alcohol.
As you can see from the aforementioned, the top treatment for everything is totally abstaining from ingesting anything that contains alcohol. Even the slightest trace of alcohol is enough to cause a person to fall from the bandwagon. This would include mouthwash.
The process of alcohol detoxification is never easy. The patient would really have to suffer before he gets better. Alcohol detox symptoms are enough to make one run back to the relative safety of the bottle.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear immediately after the last drink. People who are considered alcohol dependent would have the worst of it. For those that are not alcoholics, but have ingested a huge amount of alcohol the night before, alcohol detox symptoms would appear once they awake. This is commonly called the hangover. This subsides in a few hours. Some of us have even developed our very own hangover cures, right?
For the alcohol dependents, alcohol withdrawal symptoms would happen 5-10 hours after their last consumption. After 72 hours, the symptoms would worsen and could even go on for weeks. The following would be some of the most common manifestations of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- Mood swings
- Pupil dilation
- Nausea and vomiting
“Unpleasant” is not enough to describe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. During this time, you must keep a vigilant watch over you patient because he would try to get his hands on anything that remotely contains alcohol. You would have to explain to him that there is no easy way out if that situation. He would just have to strengthen his will.
Assisting with Alcohol Detox Symptoms
Detoxifying from alcohol would mean cleansing your body of the impurities brought about by it. This would mean complete abstinence. As you can see in the previous paragraph, it is not an easy process. Knowing how to deal with a person undergoing alcohol detox symptoms would go a long way when it comes to making that person as comfortable as you can. The following are some tips on how to do just that.
- Decrease stimulation. People experiencing alcohol detox symptoms are very sensitive even to the slightest of stimuli. Keep the room cool and quiet. This would make him more comfortable.
- Keep the room dark. Alcohol detox symptoms would include pupil dilation. This would mean that your patient would be photosensitive. Keep the light to a bare minimum so as not to hurt your patient’s eyes. However, do not make it too dark that you could hardly see.
- Keep him well hydrated. With all the vomiting and the sweating that is happening, your patient is at great risk for dehydration. You do not want that on top of your list of problems. So make sure he gets regular sips of water to keep his fluids at normal level.
Dealing with a person undergoing alcohol withdrawal symptoms could never be easy. That is the reason why most of the recovering alcoholics check themselves into rehab clinics. In these institutions, there would be a medical staff that would watch over them 24/7.