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Alcoholic hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol over a longer period. Today, on World Hepatitis Day 2019, read on to know the type of hepatitis you can develop from alcohol abuse. The inflammatory condition of the liver is worsened by binge drinking. It is mostly reported in individuals who drink heavily for years.
However, it is to be noted that not all heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis and sometimes, it can develop in moderate drinkers too. An individual diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis must stop alcohol consumption immediately, and if continued, can raise the risk of liver damage, cirrhosis, excessive bleeding and death .
The condition causes the build-up of fat and can scar your liver, along with the inflammation.
Causes Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The condition arises when alcohol consumption begins to damage your liver. Once the alcohol in your system gets processed, toxic chemicals are produced which can cause severe damages to your liver cells  .
Although it is understood that heavy alcohol consumption is the cause of the condition, there is a lack of evidence on why exactly the condition develops.
Symptoms Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The signs about the condition vary according to the damage inflicted on the liver. If the condition is minor, the symptoms will be difficult to understand and you may not even experience them  .
Some of the common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis are as follows  :
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite shift
- Pain or swelling in the abdomen
- Changes in your mental state
- Fatigue and weakness
- Easy bleeding or bruising
Risk Factors Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Of course, the prime risk factor of alcoholic hepatitis is the consumption of alcohol. The other risk factors of the condition are as follows  :
- Gender, women tend to have a higher risk of developing alcoholic hepatitis.
- Race and ethnicity, Blacks and Hispanics might be at higher risk.
- Genetic factors
- Binge drinking
Diagnosis Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The doctor will begin by examining your health history and alcohol consumption levels. A physical examination will also be carried out to check for an enlarged spleen or liver.
After that, various tests will be carried out to confirm whether you have alcoholic hepatitis . The tests include
- ultrasound of the liver,
- complete blood count (CBC),
- liver function test,
- abdominal CT scan and
- blood clotting tests.
A liver biopsy may also be ordered in some cases.
Complications Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
The severe liver damage caused by the condition can cause various complications and they are as follows  :
- Enlarged veins
- Hepatic encephalopathy
- Kidney failure
Treatment For Alcoholic Hepatitis
Caused by the over-consumption of alcohol, the first step is to give up drinking. Apart from that, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and medications are prescribed for quitting the habit of alcohol consumption.
Treatment measures include medications, counselling, support groups and outpatient or residential treatment programs .
Medications to reduce liver inflammation such as corticosteroids and pentoxifylline are also prescribed.
One of the other treatment methods includes liver transplant  .
Prevention Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
- Drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it, if you can.
- Do not mix medications with alcohol  .
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Protect yourself from hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
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