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During the summer there are drinks that are simply irresistible and without a doubt one of the most popular is an ice cold beer, and although it is well known that alcohol dehydrates it is a tremendously refreshing taste. However, as with any alcoholic beverage, too much will never be a good health habit. While there are many harms associated with high alcohol consumption and it represents one of the greatest threats to vital organs, one of the most affected is the liver. This is because one of the liver’s key functions is to break down and filter toxins and other harmful substances in the blood, and alcohol is considered a toxin.
The truth is that the liver fulfills essential functions in the functioning of the body: makes proteins, enzymes, and hormones that the body uses to prevent infection. It is key in the digestion process, in large part because it is responsible for producing bile and helping to break down fats in the small intestine and eliminate waste. It even helps regulate blood clotting. In such a way that being the driver of so many essential processes in the body, it is vital that it remains optimal so that it can function properly and keep us healthy.
However, drinking too much alcohol, which can be considered an average of two to three beers a day, increases the risk of liver damage. In fact, heavy drinkers are known to be at high risk of developing alcoholic fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic steatosis. In fact, It is estimated that 90% of drinkers have some degree of the condition. In addition, drinking too much alcohol can inhibit the breakdown of fats in the liver, which is related to the accumulation of fat in the body and increases the risk of obesity.
The liver is responsible for breaking down most of the alcohol we drink, it is a process that generates harmful substances. These substances in turn can cause inflammation and damage to liver cellsAs if that were not enough, they end up weakening the immune system and make us much more prone to contracting infections and diseases. But all is not lost, it has been proven that alcoholic liver disease is reversible and the way to achieve this is by eliminating alcohol from the diet. Although in some cases doing it for several weeks is usually associated with good results, it is never recommended to drink excessively again.
People who drink beer regularly begin to notice discomfort near the liver, experience fatigue or even unexplained weight loss. They are three of the main symptoms that announce a alcoholic liver disease. The truth is that when these conditions are not treated for a period of time, they can easily turn into alcoholic hepatitis, which is a much more serious disease and that sometimes it may not be reversible. In fact, the best treatment for people with this type of liver damage is to permanently stop drinking alcohol. The damage can become such that after years of routine alcohol consumption, the scar tissue can replace healthy tissue in the liver and liver damage in a process called fibrosis. As this scar tissue continues to form, alcoholic cirrhosis develops that prevents the liver from working properly. In the worst case, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Finally, excessive alcohol consumption is actively related to irreparable damage to the liver, such as:
– Excessive accumulation of fat, which is considered the most common liver disease and is known as fatty liver.
– Increased risk of suffering from hepatitis, which is an inflammatory disease that comes from a viral infection. And increased risk of cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver.
– Slows and impairs liver function. And with this it affects many basic functions of the body.
Although the liver is usually a very resistant organ, when something is wrong it sends strong signals. Medical follow-up is important to obtain a proper diagnosis, limit alcohol consumption, follow a healthy diet based on the consumption of whole foods, avoid processed foods and fast foods, perform physical activity and, of course, sleep well. They are habits that protect the liver from any damage and alteration, and that are related to other great benefits for health. Finally we cannot deny that it is all about balance, normally remember anything in excess is bad.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.