Rajesh Khanna, India’s first superstar passed away recently. A close friend of his said that he died of liver infection. Kaka’s battle with alcohol is well documented. Though no one wants to say it out loud, it was his drinking habit that probably hastened his early demise. So why is alcohol dangerous to the liver? For that we need to understand how important an organ the liver is – click here to read more about the importance of the liver. 

What does the liver do?

The liver serves so many different functions that till now no single artificial organ or device that can perform all its functions. The liver processes nutrients from your food, gets rid of toxins and even helps your blood clot. The liver is also responsible for providing glucose so that all your bodily functions can take place properly.

What happens when you drink alcohol?

When you drink booze, the liver works overtime to convert ethanol into acetic acid which is then converted into a less toxic form like acetate which we eventually release as urine. However, this means that the liver is diverted from its primary functions like providing glucose. The effects of hangovers like nausea, vomiting, headaches and fatigue is due to this – the lack of glucose or hypoglycaemia. Glucose is also very important for our brain functions and this explains why we are lethargic and have slower cognitive function during hangovers. And these are only the short term effects.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of liver disease.

Long term effects of alcohol consumption on liver

The long term effects are far worse. It takes a toll on all liver functions. Along with fatty foods excessive alcohol consumption is one of the primary causes of all liver diseases. The fat deposited due to absorption of alcohol leads to fatty liver disease. It also causes inflammation of the liver which leads to alcoholic hepatitis. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and alcoholic hepatitis is one of the first stages of alcohol liver disease and may progress to fibrosis (thickening of connecting tissues) or cirrhosis (a chronic liver disease marked by cell degeneration, inflammation and advanced fibrosis). Though the liver is a remarkably resilient organ (it can function normally even after losing 70% of its mass), cirrhosis of liver leads to its complete shutdown. It prevents the free flow of blood leading to accumulation of waste and toxins in the body. The symptoms of cirrhosis (jaundice, fluid build-up, itching, nosebleeds, red spots, lowered immunity) may occur either simultaneously or gradually. The symptoms of liver cirrhosis are only visible when it has progressed to an advanced stage. By that time very little can be done for the patient.

So think what the alcohol is going to do to your body before you have your next drink. 

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  • Andrew

    Best Hospital For Liver Transplant recommend abstaining from alcohol completely, if there have been liver issues or restricting yourself to one drink a day in case of women and two at the most, if you are a man, to prevent such fatal circumstances.

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  • Adzan

    Yes, I know LOTS of people who have gotetn Hep C through tattoos. Hepatitis A & B have vaccines, but there is no vaccine for Hep c (HCV) which is a disease that is transmitted by blood to blood contamination. And the thing that makes HCV (and HBV) so contagious is that it can live outside the human body for days, on instruments like needles and in the ink, too. A reputable tattoo shop will use new, disposable needles that are to be opened right in front of you. The ink should be poured into small containers then the leftover ink should be thrown out, not reused. The tattoo artist should be wearing gloves, and the environment should be clean. If all those things happen, then you won’t get HCV from a tattoo.I was diagnosed seven years ago with HCV. I never had a tattoo. My husband and I ride motorcycles with many of our friends who are bikers. I’ve been teased many times because I won’t get a tattoo, but after having to give myself interferon injections three times a week for 6 months, I don’t want to take a chance of exposing myself to a HCV risk factor. I cleared the virus on the chemotherapy treatment and don’t want to go through it again if I don’t have to. You will need to do the research and make an educated decision. Best wishes to you.

  • Surname

    Thank you for every other informative web site. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal manner? I’ve a venture that I am simply now operating on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

  • s s sandhu

    very valuable information on liver disorder due to alcohal.Thanks !

  • krishna

    i do not care as iam habituated to drinking day and night and yes nobody is going to live 100 years like a crow..

    • shakuntala

      hahahaahah …Good one :P I agree