Alcoholic Liver Disease


Alcohol is the most common cause of serious liver disease in our country. In addition to the liver, it can also seriously damage the pancreas and heart.

How does alcohol damage the liver?

Alcohol damages the liver by several mechanisms. Patients with alcoholic liver disease go through three phases of liver damage:

  • Simple steatosis (fatty liver): Stopping alcohol at this stage completely reverses the liver damage.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis: This is a serious condition where patients present with severe jaundice, altered consciousness, and sometimes fever. These patients are highly prone for infection. Many patients with alcoholic hepatitis may have underlying cirrhosis. These patients may require ICU care with adequate fluid balance, nutrition and supportive measures. Stopping alcohol at this point is still beneficial in reducing long-term damage.
  • Cirrhosis. Here the patient becomes malnourished and weak. He/she may develop fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, may vomit blood leading to liver failure and death. There is also the risk of liver cancer in these patients.

How much can I drink without developing liver disease?

Patients who consume excess alcohol regularly over several years are more likely to develop cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption of over 90 ml of liquor or equivalent quantity of beer or wine will definitely lead to serious liver disease. There is, however, no safe level of alcohol consumption below which liver disease cannot develop. Those who binge drink on the weekends are not spared!

Rela Institute of Liver Disease & Transplantation, equipped with advanced liver care facilities and highly skilled liver specialists for treatment of alcoholic liver diseases, offers comprehensive disease management program to prevent liver damage due to alcohol consumption. In cases of severe alcohol abuse, liver is likely to develop a fatal stage called cirrhosis. As liver cirrhosis leads to high risk of mortality due to scarring of liver, liver transplant is opted as treatment for patients to improve their life expectancy. RIMC, with 1400 liver transplants in Tamil Nadu to its credit, is acknowledged as one of the best liver transplant centres in India. The best liver transplant surgeons in Chennai with world class expertise in liver transplantation offer coordinated multidisciplinary liver transplant program at RIMC making it the best hospital for liver transplantation in Chennai, India.

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