Alcohol use is up sharply in the U.S., due in part to the pandemic.
One impact of this rise – liver transplants, and patients waitlisted for liver transplants are up 50%. Alcohol liver disease is the primary reason patients require transplants.
Why does the liver suffer when a person drinks to excess?
First – it’s essential to understand the liver’s vital role in human health. It eliminates toxins from the blood, works to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels, controls blood clotting, and performs many other crucial functions.
Excessive alcohol consumption leads to a build-up of fatty deposits in the liver. These deposits then lead to tissue damage in the form of scarring, impairing liver function.
Alcohol-associated hepatitis may also occur. This condition involves alcohol-induced inflammation of the liver.
Some of the symptoms of alcohol-induced liver disease include:
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Fluid build-up in the belly and around the ankles
- Bleeding of the esophagus
- Vomiting blood or passing blood in the stool
- Mental confusion and drowsiness
There are approximately 7,000 liver transplants performed annually in the U.S., with year-one survival rates of 91%. The key to improving life expectancy after surgery, according to experts, is getting patients to protect their new livers by adopting healthier lifestyles.
If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. To learn more, please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists.