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An overview of alcoholic liver disease

This is the fifth blog in a new series discussing pathologies that can be found in seniors. The fifth blog will focus on alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholic liver disease refers to a spectrum of liver conditions caused by excessive alcohol consumption over a prolonged period. It encompasses various stages of liver damage, including fatty liver (steatosis), steatohepatitis, and cirrhosis. Future blogs will discuss these stages in greater detail.

Excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause of liver disease in most Western countries. Alcoholic liver disease accounts for 5.9% of deaths globally. More often, it leads to death and disability earlier in life than other forms of chronic liver injury. Consumption of 80 grams per day of alcohol is considered to be the threshold for the development of alcoholic liver disease. However, it may be lower in women.

It may take 10 to 15 years of drinking for the development of cirrhosis. However, cirrhosis occurs only in a small proportion of chronic alcoholics. Excessive alcohol intake causes steatosis, dysfunction of mitochondria, microtubules, and cellular membranes, and oxidative stress, and the resulting injury leads to varying degrees of inflammation and hepatocyte death.

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This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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