Alcoholic Hepatitis

What is Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic Hepatitis is a serious and life threatening disease of the liver caused due to excessive intake of alcohol over a long period of time. It is a progressive inflammatory liver disease which if not checked may lead to cirrhosis of liver or permanent liver damage.

Causes

The main cause for Alcoholic Hepatitis is prolonged alcohol intake over a period of time. Another not so common cause is binge drinking that is drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short time period. Mild alcoholic hepatitis is curable if the person stops drinking permanently.

Symptoms

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis may vary from person to person depending on the damage that has been done to the liver. In the initial stages of the disease the person may not show signs of any of the symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are as follows:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Collection of fluid in the abdomen
  • Excessive thirst
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Mental disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid Heart Rate (Tachycardia)

Diagnosis

The diagnosis for liver hepatitis can be confirmed by the following clinical tests:

  • Computer Tomography (CT scan) of the liver
  • Ultra sound of the liver
  • Blood culture i.e. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Liver Function Test

If all the above tests fail to confirm any disease the Doctor may prescribe a liver biopsy. A tissue sample from the liver is extracted and is then examined for any liver disease. This examination also confirms for Alcoholic Hepatitis.

Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Hepatitis C Hepatitis D Hepatitis E Hepatitis F Hepatitis G

Treatment

Though there is no specific treatment for alcoholic hepatitis, if one is diagnosed for the disease he should immediately stop drinking alcohol. The following treatment is generally advised by the medical personnel:

  • A high calorie and high carbohydrate diet is prescribed. This helps in breaking down of unnecessary protein formation in the body.
  • Vitamin B1 and folic acid are prescribed for improvement of the liver.
  • The patient is asked to enroll in Alcohol Rehabilitation Program in case if the alcohol addiction persists.
  • In severe cases despite abstinence from alcohol if the cirrhosis of the liver still persists the doctors might consider for a liver transplant.
  • Precautions and Prevention

The precautions and prevention for Alcoholic Hepatitis are as follows:

  • The best method to prevent this disease from occurring is to avoid alcohol.
  • Recommended levels of alcohol consumption for men should not be more then 3 to 4 units per day and for women it should not exceed 2 to 3 units per day.
  • A Healthy nutritious diet can prevent the liver from contracting alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Hepatitis C which is another form a liver disease should also be avoided in persons who are alcoholic. Hepatitis C is found to be a precursor for alcoholic hepatitis. A person should abstain from sharing needles and having unprotected sex in order to avoid Hepatitis C.