Alcoholic Hepatitis- Symptoms, Causes, Risk, and Treatment

Alcoholic Hepatitis- Symptoms, Causes, Risk, and Treatment

Alcoholic hepatitis is a liver syndrome that is generated by the heavy consumption of alcohol regularly. The fat deposited on the wall, which causes inflammation. People who consume heavy packs of alcohol in a day, they will have the highest chances of this disease.

Although, hepatitis (A&B) occurs through a virus. But alcoholic hepatitis is not communicable. However, drinking too much alcohol over a prolonged period can destroy your health.

Alcohol is a beverage, which is developed by the fermentation process by grains, sugar, fruits, honey, and many more natural ingredients. It has psychoactive properties. However, it is a good anti-depressant that helps to reduce stress and anxiety. But excessive drinking may lead to unconsciousness and death.

Alcohol has been using for 1000 years as a favorite beverage. There are two ways to make this drink distilled and undistilled. Undistilled drinks are also known as a fermented drink, which is developed with the help of yeast and bacteria.

The liver is the largest organ, which eliminates waste from the blood. Moreover, excessive consumption of alcohol hampers the function of the liver. Once it got damaged, it cannot work properly and further causes disease.

What are the Causes of Alcoholic Hepatitis?

The alcoholic liver doesn’t occur in all people who are heavy drinkers. 100 people in 1lakh are at high risk of alcoholic hepatitis. It is the progressive inflammation of the liver with scaring and distortion.

Few factors are known, which play an important role in developing this disease.

  • The process of breaking down the alcohol molecule in the liver. Alcohol produces unwanted free radicals in the liver.
  • Heavy intake of alcohol for a prolonged period.
  • Harmful chemicals developed by alcohol consumption may further destroy the tissues of the liver
  • Over a while, the scar is developed in the liver and may lead to inflammation.

The liver plays an important role in detoxification, protein synthesis, hormone production, metabolism of food, production of digestive chemicals, and many more.

However, this disease obstructs the function of the liver.

Pathophysiology of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic liver disease
  • Chronic alcohol consumption leads to the formation of Acetaldehyde.
  • It gets oxidizes and leads to the formation of alcohol dehydrogenase.
  • Excessive alcohol hydrogenase bind with the protein present in the liver,  which generates free radicals.
  • These free radicals further cause liver cell injury and fatty liver.
  • Excessive fat changes the shape of the liver and destroys the normal function of the liver.
  • The complex of protein and acetaldehyde causes the fibrosis
  • Damaged cells do not work properly and cause further conditions of liver injury.
  • The complex binds with the cell membrane, which also triggers immunity.

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Risk Factors of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Quantity. A risk factor is different for the male and female. However, in males, 100g/d of alcohol for 20 years leads to generating hepatitis. As per the study, only 10 percent of people developing hepatitis.

Previous Disease History. The previous history of the co-existence of fatty liver, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B may create more chances to develop the liver syndrome.

Drinking Pattern. If your alcohol intake is more than limits regularly, there are more chances to develop alcoholic liver disease.

Gender. Females are at high risk to develop in comparison with males.

Other Factors. Obesity and malnutrition.

Symptoms of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Symptoms of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Excessive alcohol intake is harmful.

Patients who are affected by this syndrome, mainly found with the most common symptoms are yellowing of the skin and whitish of eyes.

Apart from these, a few more symptoms are present in the patient such as,

  • subsequently, the onset of low-grade fever
  • leukocytosis
  • loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • impairment of liver
  • hypertension
  • vomiting of blood
  • unwanted fluid accumulation

If you develop these symptoms, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Carry on with regular drinking can lead to more health problems, such as liver failure, kidney failure, and cirrhosis, and excessive bleeding in the esophagus.

Apart from these, it can suppress the appetite and cause of deficiency of essential nutrients. A heavy drinker absorbs a more required quantity of calories, which further develops fatty liver.

Diagnosis of Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis is dangerous for health. However, if you develop the symptoms like vomiting of blood, yellowish skin, and fever, you should immediately call the ambulance and check with your doctor.

Firstly, the doctor would ask about the history of your disease and alcohol consumption. After that, he will ask you to get a few test reports, which will confirm the weather you are affected by ALD or not.

Complete Blood Count.  CBD evaluates the performance of the overall cell and detects the disease and unknown conditions that hamper the health.

Liver Function Test. This test measures the overall health of the liver such as protein synthesis, bilirubin, and enzymes.

Abdominal CT scan. It can help get liver distortion images if you are susceptible to ALD.

Ultrasound. It may help to diagnose the liver shape and fatty liver.

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Treatment of Alcoholic Hepatitis

There are few medications to treat the symptoms and disease. But the major step must be stop drinking alcohol. A single pack consumption of alcohol may cause liver failure. This is the basic treatment, but tough for those who are severely addicted.

Stop Consuming Alcohol

Stop Consuming Alcohol

Stop consuming alcohol is the first step to treat Alcoholic hepatitis. Once a patient is diagnosed with ALD, he is not allowed to intake alcohol at any condition. Even a patient who has been diagnosed with a fatty liver, they are also suggested to stay away from alcohol.

People who are addicted, they should ask for medical help to stop drinking.

Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy and Benzodizapenes are recommended to withdraw the symptoms in an addicted person.

Few medications that prevent relapses such as acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram.

Lifestyle Changes

This is also important in people who are addicted. A positive lifestyle can help mentally to get rid of this.

  • Quit Smoking
  • Regular yoga and meditation will help a lot
  • A healthy diet including fruits, fibers, and calcium
  • You can add a multivitamin medication in your routine for a few months, which will keep you energetic.

Medications to Reduce Inflammation

If you are diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, your doctor might prescribe these medicines.

Corticosteroids. These are the group of medicines that reduce inflammation in your body. This is good for short-time uses. However, it is not recommended when you are at high risk of kidney disease and liver failure. This is prescribed for only acute liver injury.

Pentoxifylline. If you are affected by severe alcoholic hepatitis, it would be recommended for reducing inflammation. In severe problems, corticosteroids are not safe.

Liver Transplantation

Liver transplantation is the last step when all the medication stop to show their effects. This is the treatment option for end-stage of the liver.

This is a surgical process of removing a liver from the body and replace it with a healthy liver. A few conditions are applied before starting the procedure. However, the donor should be healthy and medically fit if he is alive.

A donor who is not alive, there is a need to check his previous history of disease such as cancer. Apart from this, you are not allowed to alcohol consumption for 6 months before transplantation.

Further Information

Alcoholic hepatitis can be a life-threatening disease. Once you diagnose this disease, you should immediately stop drinking alcohol. If you don’t stop, it may further develop hepatic encephalopathy.  In the case of liver disease, blood-filled with toxins and cause of brain death.

Your health would become worsen if you develop cirrhosis. This is tough to treat this condition. After a diagnosis of this condition, if you couldn’t stop drinking then you are at high risk of liver failure.


Is Alcoholic Hepatitis is reversible?

Alcoholic hepatitis is the restoration and inflammation of the liver, due to excessive consumption of alcohol for a prolonged period. It may be reversible if it doesn’t treat it properly. However, it can be a threat to liver failure.

Can you survive alcoholic hepatitis?

There is no cure is available to treat alcoholic hepatitis. Once it will happen you have to live with this disease. There is few treatments are available that will give symptomatic relief. For example, corticosteroids can reduce inflammation. Only one way you have to stop taking alcohol.

Can Alcoholic Hepatitis kill you?

It depends on the severity of the disease. If you diagnosed with fatty liver, you just have to stop consuming alcohol and few medical treatments help you regain the normal liver. However, the changes from cirrhosis are permanent and no reliable treatment is available. Most of the people do not afford the cost of transplantation. It may further develop the chances of liver failure and coma.

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