Alcoholic fatty liverAlcoholic fatty liver is a common condition in people who regularly drink large amounts of alcohol. Most of the time they do not notice. Read here why this initially harmless finding should be taken seriously.
At a glance
– Alcoholic fatty liver is initially harmless, but it can be a precursor to serious cirrhosis – a severely scarred liver. – An alcoholic fatty liver is usually not noticeable. – In addition to heavy and regular alcohol consumption, there are other risk factors such as being overweight. – About 90 percent of people who regularly consume a lot of alcohol develop a fatty liver. – If alcohol is not consumed, the fatty liver may regress.
What is alcoholic fatty liver?
In alcoholic fatty liver, increased fat is stored in liver cells. This is caused by a strong. Regular alcohol consumption. Although a fatty liver is initially harmless, it can develop into more serious diseases such as fatty liver inflammation (steatohepatitis) or liver cirrhosis.
As long as no damage has occurred, alcoholic fatty liver can regress on its own by abstaining from alcohol. If alcohol dependence is also present, it should be treated.
How does a fatty liver develop??
Learn how a fatty liver develops and what symptoms can occur in this video.
What are the symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver??
Many people with alcoholic fatty liver do not notice the disease. However, some experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
What are the causes of alcoholic fatty liver?
Alcohol is broken down in the liver. Large amounts of alcohol can impair liver function. Destroy or change cells. Furthermore, the breakdown of alcohol produces fatty acids that are stored in the liver. If you consume a lot of alcohol on a regular basis, the liver can therefore become fatty.
Binge drinking also increases the risk of fatty liver. This means that large amounts of alcohol are drunk in a short time – for men this is about 1.25 liters of beer or 0.6 liters of wine, for women 1 liter of beer or 0.5 liters of wine.
Which factors promote alcoholic fatty liver??
In addition to excessive alcohol consumption, the following factors increase the risk for fatty liver:
– severe overweight (obesity) – genetic factors – other diseases of the liver, such as chronic viral hepatitis
In addition, a fatty liver forms more quickly in women than in men.
Interesting to know: According to the German Centre for Addiction Ies, the risk of alcohol-related diseases is demonstrably increased if women drink more than 12 grams of pure alcohol per day and men drink more than 24 grams per day. An amount of 12 grams of alcohol contains, for example, a small beer (0.3 liter) or a small glass of wine (0.125 liter).
How common is alcoholic fatty liver??
Since the disease almost always progresses without symptoms, there are no exact figures on its frequency. However, studies suggest that about 90 percent of those who consume a lot of alcohol over a long period of time develop a fatty liver. This can be, for example, in relation to a man two bottles of beer and more per day.
What is the course of alcoholic fatty liver??
If alcohol is completely avoided in the case of fatty liver, the changes in the liver quickly regress.
Alcoholic fatty liver is the mildest form of alcohol-related liver disease. With it, the risk of developing fatty liver inflammation and, as it progresses, cirrhosis increases – a serious condition that can be fatal.
How is alcoholic fatty liver diagnosed??
Various findings can indicate alcohol-related fatty liver disease. These include:
– a palpable enlarged liver – an elevated level of a certain liver enzyme in the blood
A well-founded suspicion of a fatty liver can usually be checked with imaging procedures such as an ultrasound examination. A biopsy, i.e. a removal of tie, is rarely necessary.
In order to clearly distinguish between alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver, doctors also obtain a precise picture of the individual's alcohol consumption.
How to treat an alcoholic fatty liver?
Alcoholic fatty liver can only be treated by abstaining from alcohol. Complete recovery is possible with complete abstinence.
If, in addition to the fatty liver, an alcohol disorder has also been diagnosed, it should definitely be treated.
Because nutrient deficiencies are often also present after heavy alcohol consumption, it is recommended that attention be paid to a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
Where can I find help with alcohol problems?
The German Federal Center for Health Education provides information on its website kenn-dein-limit.de comprehensive on how to deal with alcohol and options for self-help. Anyone who wants to find out whether they are consuming too much alcohol can take a self-test.
For detailed information on what to do as a family member of someone with alcohol problems, visit gesundheitsinformation.en.
– Singal AK, Bataller R, Ahn J et al. ACG Clinical Guideline: Alcoholic Liver Disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2018 Feb;113(2):175-194. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2017.469. Epub 2018 Jan 16. PMID: 29336434; PMCID: PMC6524956. – Crabb DW, Im GY, Szabo G, Mellinger JL, Lucey MR. Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcohol-Associated Liver Diseases: 2019 Practice Guidance From the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Hepatology. 2020 Jan;71(1):306-333. doi: 10.1002/hep.30866. PMID: 31314133. – DynaMed (Internet), Ipswich (MA). Alcoholic Liver Disease. EBSCO Information Services. Record No. T113903. 2018 (1995). Retrieved 12.04.2021. – UpToDate (Internet). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic cirrhosis. Wolters Kluwer 2021.