Alcoholic hepatitis requires serious medical attention. Over 1/3 of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, leading to death in over a third of cases within 6 months after symptoms appear.
Heavy alcohol consumption can cause liver inflammation. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver can result from alcoholic hepatitis.
If a patient with alcoholic hepatitis stops drinking, the liver damage may be reversible. However, if cirrhosis has set in, the patient could be at risk for liver failure.
SYMPTOMS OF ALCOHOLIC LIVER DISEASE
- Vomiting, perhaps blood or black material
- Ascites—retaining fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
DIAGNOSING ALCOHOLIC LIVER DISEASE
- The patient’s history of heavy alcohol use
- Laboratory tests of blood and liver function
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ALCOHOLIC LIVER DISEASE
The first step to treating alcoholic hepatitis is to stop drinking alcohol, ENTIRELY. Often, people who stop drinking show improvement within only a few months. However, this can be a complex problem and may require an alcoholism therapy program.
There is currently no complete cure for alcoholic hepatitis. Medications may be recommended to reduce the liver inflammation.