The liver is a vital organ responsible for metabolizing drugs, alcohol, and other foreign substances into a form that the rest of the body can accommodate. When the liver is exhausted by years of alcohol consumption, however, its functionality takes a major hit. People addicted to alcohol tend to have less efficient livers on average compared to their non-alcoholic peers, and understanding why can unearth some of what makes alcohol so harmful to one’s health.
Alcohol use doesn’t affect the liver after a single instance. It takes years of persistent, heavy drinking to cause the sort of damage typical of alcohol and your liver. If you or someone you know has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, help is available. California Centers for Recovery offers a program for alcohol detox in California. We can help you improve your means of living with alcoholic impulses and managing them over the long term. Contact our support center at 877.328.5682 to learn about our luxury detox program in Los Angeles.
Effects on the Liver Following Long-Term Alcohol Use
As stated before, the liver is something of a filter for alcohol. Alcohol is not something the human body has any real accommodations for, unlike food or water. Instead, your body passes it through urination, as well as the chemical byproducts from processing through the liver. Doing this infrequently enough shouldn’t cause any liver damage, rendering an occasional drink relatively safe.
However, individuals with an alcohol use disorder face an immense risk of liver failure. If consuming alcohol becomes habitual, though, it is a different story altogether. The process of disassembling alcohol into body-friendly components is not perfect. Some compounds left behind or created by the process can linger in the body or can do damage as they pass. For example:
Fatty Liver Disease
Also known as steatosis/alcoholic steatohepatitis, fatty liver disease is caused by a buildup of fat within the liver. Fat isn’t part of alcohol, but the process of filtration creates fat cells that can build up over time. Too much fat buildup in the liver can damage and inflame liver cells, causing them to lose function over time.
After the liver has endured extreme fat and inflammation, the tissue itself begins to scar. These portions of scar tissue ensure that the liver remains intact, but the tissue itself does very little in terms of actual liver function. They don’t produce bile, they don’t filter foreign substances, and they can go totally unnoticed for years.
Fatty liver disease and cirrhosis are both immensely deadly and are highly common in those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol regularly.
Steps to Take to Avoid Liver Disease
After a certain point, liver damage is irreversible. Scar tissue can’t be replaced with healthy liver cells by the body, and no transplanting techniques exist. As for fat buildup, if it’s incurred by obesity, a healthier lifestyle can reduce the presence of fat within the liver. Unfortunately, in the case of alcoholic liver fat buildup, it’s there to stay.
Really, the only guarantee of minimizing damage by alcohol and your liver to the point of inconsequentiality is by avoiding alcoholism altogether. There is no way to stave off liver disease from all angles—obesity, type 2 diabetes, bloodborne or sexual transmission, or even genetic predisposition are all potential causes of liver disease. The difference is that heavy alcohol use is the primary cause of liver disease by a large margin, and avoiding that is essential for liver health.
Understanding Alcohol and Your Liver at California Centers for Recovery
Liver health is a concern for any heavy drinker. The odds that a frequent alcoholic will develop liver cirrhosis is about one in five, and liver failure is life-threatening. Though the damage done to the liver can’t be reversed, further damage can be halted at any time. Overcoming an alcohol addiction is hard, no matter how long an individual has been drinking.
At California Centers for Recovery, we understand that every client has a different background and different medical and therapeutic needs. The detox process for any substance can be dangerous on one’s own, which is why we provide a specialized alcohol detox program in California. 24/7 supervision, a luxurious setting, and residential accommodations make our program the one of choice for those in Los Angeles. Contact us today at 877.328.5682 to learn more or get started on your path to recovery.