ARLD is very common in the UK – the number of people with the condition has been increasing over the last few decades as a result of increasing levels of alcohol misuse. However,the amount of time without alcohol use must be at least 6 months before you can be considered a candidate for a liver transplant. According to a 2015 study of people hospitalized with alcohol-related liver disease in Sacramento, California, Hispanic people tend to develop the condition at a younger age than African Americans or people who are white. In cirrhosis, at right, scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. The most common sign of alcoholic hepatitis is yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, called jaundice.

Complications of alcoholic hepatitis are caused by scar tissue on the liver. That can raise pressure in a major blood vessel called the portal vein and cause a buildup of toxins. Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by damage to the liver from drinking alcohol. Just how alcohol damages the liver and why it does so only in some heavy drinkers isn’t clear. Alcoholic hepatitis most often happens in people who drink heavily over many years. But the link between drinking and alcoholic hepatitis isn’t simple.

Symptoms and Signs of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this finding is present in over 80 percent of ARLD patients. The aim of treatment is to restore some or all normal function to the liver. In the United States, one standard drink has 14 grams of pure alcohol (ethanol). Some examples include 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, 5 fluid ounces of table wine, and 1 shot of distilled spirits (e.g., gin, whiskey, vodka).

  • We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Different factors, such as metabolic, genetic, environmental, and immunological, collectively play a role in alcoholic liver disease.
  • Alcohol consumption was also estimated to cause a quarter of all cirrhosis-related deaths globally in 2019.
  • No single biomarker has both adequate sensitivity and specificity for detecting chronic alcohol abuse.
  • This will include special blood tests and scans which are usually carried out at a hospital.

A number of serious complications can develop if you have alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD). A blood test may also look for signs of abnormal blood clotting, which can indicate significant liver damage. If a doctor suspects ARLD, they’ll usually arrange a blood test to check how well your liver is working. The most effective way to prevent ARLD is to stop drinking alcohol or stick to the low-risk drinking guidelines. If you regularly drink alcohol to excess, tell your GP so they can check if your liver is damaged.

How to Help Someone With Alcohol Addiction

For people with severe alcoholic hepatitis, treatment in hospital may be necessary. Specific treatment with corticosteroids or pentoxifylline medication may be used to reduce inflammation of the liver in some people with this condition. If your symptoms or liver function test suggest an advanced form of ARLD – either alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis – alcoholic liver disease you may need further tests. Symptoms of alcohol-related cirrhosis typically develop around the mean age of 52, with alcohol-related fatty liver disease and alcohol-related hepatitis often showing up about 4 to 8 years before this. It may start with fatty liver disease, progressing to alcohol-related hepatitis, and then to alcohol-related cirrhosis.

This could give you the chance to make important changes or begin treatment. Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is another possible complication of cirrhosis. Not everyone with cirrhosis develops liver cancer, but most people who do develop liver cancer have cirrhosis.