Even Moderate Drinkers are Susceptible to Hepatitis

July 3, 2018  Source: Dr. M. Singh 178

On hearing the name “alcoholic hepatitis”, one might correlate hepatitis with excess alcohol consumption. You would be mistaken. Even moderate drinkers can be affected with alcoholic hepatitis disease. The inflammation of the liver due to toxin secretion in alcoholic hepatitis leads to several complications such as hepatic encephalopathy, portal hypertension, liver cirrhosis, coma and even death. Studies have also shown that women are at higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis.

The causes of alcoholic hepatitis include moderate or excessive consumption of alcohol over the period of many years. Other factors include hepatitis C viral infection, genetics and malnutrition.

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include:
1. nausea,
2. vomiting,
3. loss of appetite,
4. weight loss,
5. jaundice,
6. fever,
7. dry mouth,
8. pain on touching the abdomen,
9. fluid accumulation in the abdomen,
10. fatigue and confusion.

If the patient has a history of alcohol consumption, a physical examination is also suggested. Blood tests, liver function tests and urine test would be carried out immediately. Ultrasonography, a CT Scan and MRI may be required, depending on the case.

Alcohol consumption should be stopped immediately to halt further damage to the liver. In severe cases of alcohol addiction, alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation may be required immediately. Medication, vitamins and mineral supplements are prescribed to reduce liver inflammation. Liver transplantation would be the only option left, in cases of severe irreversible liver damage.

By Ddu
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