Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dying for a drink: Alcohol is more deadly than you think

Waking up to a choking pungent smell that comes from within  is hardly something to look forward to but if your daily routine involves imbibing copious amounts of alcoholic beverages it is a given that you will wake up with a wreaking mouth  not even an unconditionally loving mother would kiss.

This is just one of the many unpleasant ordeals alcohol abusers deal with on a regular basis. It should be the least of their worries as perpetual use and abuse of alcohol can lead to more harmful, chronic and potentially fatal conditions such as liver Cirrhosis.

Though there are other conditions like diabetes, Hepatitis and obesity that can lead to liver cirrhosis the most dominant cause is the abuse of alcohol. The liver is a very important organ in the body which is responsible for ridding it of toxic and poisonous substances and it is the liver that secretes bile which is the chemical that aide in digestion of food.

There is a certain amount of toxins that the liver can metabolise and excrete from the body over a given period of time. The liver also produces clotting proteins which come in handy when a person gets a bleeding open wound. It also regulates sugar and fat content in the blood which act as fuel for all bodily functions to run smoothly. For the human immune system to thrive the liver must be in mint condition as it removes bacteria from the blood to help fight harmful infections.

For whatever reason should the relationship between blood and the liver be tampered with cell within the liver are destroyed often resulting in scarring of the liver and ultimately obstructing the flow of the blood to the liver cells. A condition the medical fraternity has named Liver Cirrhosis

Being a non communicable disease the patients suffering from cirrhosis show very little or no symptoms on its onset. The signs and symptoms also tend to be non specific as they don’t directly suggest that an unwell liver is their cause. The signs include jaundice, fatigue, itchy skin and easily bruising due to decreased production of blood clotting agents.

As the cirrhosis’s severity continues to grow it causes the kidneys to increase water and salt retention causing oedema (the swelling caused by excessive accumulation of fluids) this will continue until the fluid settles in the abdominal cavity causing the abdomen to swell and thus causing extreme weight gain.  These fluids will in turn breed bacteria from the intestines causing fever, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Because these complications tamper with the body’s regular blood flow the patients also tend to vomit blood. The proteins which are not properly digested and absorbed into the blood because of the ailing liver is used up by the bacteria in the intestines manufacturing toxic  substances like ammonia which have an adverse effect on the brain.

Whilst cirrhosis has no known cure, treatment is often provided to patients to manage the symptoms. The best way to tackle it however entails a drastic change in lifestyle choices including completely stopping the use of any form of drugs and alcohol, weight loss, eating healthy, regular exercise and general good hygiene to avoid infections.

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