Alcohol Effects on the Body and Liver

liver with cirrhosis

Many people may not think about alcohol as a drug, but it is, in fact, one of the most destructive drugs in terms of health, posing serious risk to the liver and other organs.

Toxic Strain on Liver

One of the major effects that alcohol has on the body is on the liver. The liver is important for a number of different reasons, but mainly your liver helps to filter out toxins from the body. Alcohol is a poison and if you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short time, the liver cannot handle that poison. Some of the poisonous effects are caused by a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde that is produced by alcohol that when consumed, can cause permanent damage to the liver. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic which deprives the liver of water that it needs to function properly.

Long-term alcohol Abuse Can Result in Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis is the most advanced form of liver disease that’s related to drinking alcohol. Cirrhosis of the liver occurs when there is damage to the liver cells which results in chronic inflammation and scar tissue forms. While cirrhosis can occur from other causes, excessive alcohol use is one of the more common causes.

Other Damage to the Body from Alcohol Abuse

As with any poison that is consumed, alcohol can have negative effects on many parts of the body. There can be damage to the heart with conditions such as Arrhythmias (Irregular heartbeat) stroke or high blood pressure.

Alcohol also causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion. People who drink alcohol for an extended period of time are prone to get ulcers or gastritis. Gastritis is an inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the lining of the stomach. As this advances ulcers can then result which are damage or holes in the stomach lining.

For anyone who is drinking extensively, there is always a risk of serious damage to the liver or other organs. If someone you know is addicted to alcohol, seek help for them before they reach the point where there is irreversible physical damage.