Sunday, May 29, 2022

Can Alcohol Cause Hepatitis C

Who Is More Likely To Get Hepatitis C

Hepatitis, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

People more likely to get hepatitis C are those who

  • have injected drugs
  • had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
  • have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
  • have been on kidney dialysis
  • have been in contact with blood or infected needles at work
  • have had tattoos or body piercings
  • have worked or lived in a prison
  • were born to a mother with hepatitis C
  • are infected with HIV
  • have had more than one sex partner in the last 6 months or have a history of sexually transmitted disease
  • are men who have or had sex with men

In the United States, injecting drugs is the most common way that people get hepatitis C.13

From Steatosis To Cirrhosis

Alcoholic Liver Disease includes three conditions: Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Heavy drinking for as little as a few days can lead to “fatty” liver, or steatosis-the earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease and the most common alcohol-induced liver disorder.

Steatosis is marked by an excessive buildup of fat inside liver cells. This condition can be reversed, however, when drinking stops.

Drinking heavily for longer periods may lead to a more severe, and potentially fatal condition, alcoholic hepatitis-an inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include nausea, lack of appetite, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and tenderness, jaundice, and, sometimes, mental confusion. Scientists believe that if drinking continues, in some patients this inflammation eventually leads to alcoholic cirrhosis, in which healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue , leaving the liver unable to perform its vital functions.

The presence of alcoholic hepatitis is a red flag that cirrhosis may soon follow: Up to 70 percent of all alcoholic hepatitis patients eventually may go on to develop cirrhosis. Patients with alcoholic hepatitis who stop drinking may have a complete recovery from liver disease, or they still may develop cirrhosis.

Alcohol Drinking Diary And Change Plan

To keep track of how much you drink, use a drinking diary. Record the number of drinks you have every day. At the end of the month, add up the total number of drinks you had during each week.

One way to make any kind of change in your behavior is to come up with a “change plan.” This exercise has you list the specific goals you would like to achieve, outline the steps and challenges you will meet in reaching those goals, and figure out ways to overcome those challenges.

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Other Factors Influencing Ald Development

Other factors besides alcohol also may influence ALD development, including demographic and biological factors such as ethnic and racial background, gender, age, education, income, employment, and a family history of drinking problems.

Women are at higher risk than men for developing cirrhosis. This higher risk may be the result of differences in the way alcohol is absorbed and broken down. When a woman drinks, the alcohol in her bloodstream reaches a higher level than a man’s even if both are drinking the same amount. The chemicals involved in breaking down alcohol also differ between men and women.

For example, women’s stomachs may contain less of a key enzyme needed for the initial breakdown of alcohol. This means that a woman breaks down alcohol at a slower rate, exposing her liver to higher blood alcohol concentrations for longer periods of time-a situation that is potentially toxic to the liver. Differences in how a woman’s body breaks down and removes alcohol also may be linked to how much and how often she drinks, the fact that estrogen is present in her body, and even her liver size.

How Common Is Hepatitis C In The United States

Why The Prevention of Hepatitis C is so Important?

In the United States, hepatitis C is the most common chronic viral infection found in blood and spread through contact with blood.14

Researchers estimate that about 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C.13 Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have this infection.

Since 2006, the number of new hepatitis C infections has been rising, especially among people younger than age 30 who inject heroin or misuse prescription opioids and inject them.15,16

New screening efforts and more effective hepatitis C treatments are helping doctors identify and cure more people with the disease. With more screening and treatment, hepatitis C may become less common in the future. Researchers estimate that hepatitis C could be a rare disease in the United States by 2036.17

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What Causes Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus causes hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood. Contact can occur by

  • sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
  • getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
  • being tattooed or pierced with tools or inks that were not kept sterilefree from all viruses and other microorganismsand were used on an infected person before they were used on you
  • having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
  • using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
  • being born to a mother with hepatitis C
  • having unprotected sex with an infected person

You cant get hepatitis C from

  • being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person
  • drinking water or eating food
  • hugging an infected person
  • shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
  • sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
  • sitting next to an infected person

A baby cant get hepatitis C from breast milk.18

Can You Get Hepatitis C From Alcohol Addiction

Research has shown a link between alcohol addiction and hepatitis C . While alcohol addiction may not directly cause HCV, it can make you more susceptible to the infection.

In one study, actively drinking alcoholics were more likely to have hepatitis C, despite not using drugs intravenously or having other known risk factors.

Alcohol can also lead to liver inflammation, which studies have found to be associated with hepatitis C antibodies. Again, this is without any other known infection risk factors.

And, if you have hepatitis C, alcohol can make it worse and speed its progression.

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Tips For Cutting Back On Drinking

The National Institutes of Health offers the following tips to help people cut back on drinking:

Watch it at home.

Keep only a small amount or no alcohol at home. Don’t keep temptations around.

Drink slowly.

When you drink, sip your drink slowly. Take a break of 1 hour between drinks. Drink water or non-alcoholic drinks after a drink with alcohol. Do not drink on an empty stomach! Eat food when you are drinking.

Take a break from alcohol.

Pick a day or two each week when you will not drink at all. Then, try to stop drinking for 1 week. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally on these days. When you succeed and feel better, you may find it easier to cut down for good.

Learn how to say NO.

You do not have to drink when other people drink. You do not have to take a drink that is given to you. Practice ways to say no politely. For example, you can tell people you feel better when you drink less. Stay away from people who give you a hard time about not drinking.

Stay active.

What would you like to do instead of drinking? Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or go for a walk.

Get support.

Cutting down on your drinking may be difficult at times. Ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down. Get the help you need to reach your goal.

Watch out for temptations.

Do not give up!

How Does Alcohol Affect Cirrhosis

Mayo Clinic Study on Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol increases the damage done to the liver and speeds up the development of cirrhosis. For example, after about 25 years of hepatitis C infection, heavy drinkers show more than twice the scarring of light drinkers or non-drinkers. After 40 years of infection and heavy drinking, most heavy drinkers have developed cirrhosis.

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Charles S Lieber Md Macp

Charles S. Lieber, M.D., M.A.C.P., is chief of the Section of Liver Disease & Nutrition, Alcohol Research Center, Bronx, NY Medical Center and professor of medicine and pathology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York. The preparation of this article was supported in part by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants AA11115 and AA12867, by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and by the Kingsbridge Research Foundation.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is characterized by jaundice, liver enlargement, abdominal and gastric discomfort, abnormal liver function, and other symptoms. Although in many patients the diseased liver is able to regenerate its tissue and retain its function, severe hepatitis may progress to scarring of the liver tissue , cirrhosis, liver cancer , and chronic liver dysfunction. Hepatitis can have numerous causes, such as excessive alcohol consumption or infection by certain bacteria or viruses. One common cause of hepatitis is infection with one of several types of viruses . With the development of new diagnostic tools, infections with the hepatitis C virus have received increasing attention in recent years. In the United States, the number of deaths caused by HCV is increasing and may approach or even surpass the number of deaths from AIDS in the next few years .

EPIDEMIOLOGY AND NATURAL HISTORY OF HCV INFECTION

EFFECT OF ALCOHOLISM ON HCV INFECTION

Effects of Alcoholism on HCV Acquisition and Persistence

Interrelation Of Serum Levels Of Alt Hcv Rna Titre And Histological Grading Of Necroinflammation

Since HCV RNA serum levels were not different in the alcohol and alcohol-free groups, we tried to establish whether histological activity of necroinflammation has any correlation with either serum levels of ALT or HCV RNA titre. We did not find any significant correlation between disease activity graded from 1 to 7 and serum levels of ALT , or between disease activity and serum HCV RNA titre . Again, analysis of the interrelation between serum levels of HCV RNA titre and ALT in different patient groups did not demonstrate any significant correlation between them . This indicates that alcohol intake in HCV-infected patients did not exacerbate the underlying disease activity caused by HCV RNA replication.

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What Is The Prognosis For Patients Who Have Alcoholic Hepatitis

If the patient who has alcoholic hepatitis gives up drinking alcohol completely, the liver may improve, and the long-term prognosis is good if there is no underlying scar in the liver. However, if the patient continues to drink excessively, the liver will continue to get worse and possibly develop cirrhosis, a serious condition that may ultimately lead to liver failure over time. Other health problems may also develop, including infections and malnutrition.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/21/2018.

References

Relation Of Alcohol Consumption With Histological Severity Of Necroinflammation Degree Of Fibrosis And Risk Of Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver: Causes, symptoms, and treatments

Although the histological activity of necroinflammation was more severe in Groups B, C, and D compared to Group A patients with alcoholic liver disease only , there was no significant difference in severity of necroinflammation among Groups B, C or D . When we analysed the degree of fibrosis from stage 1 to stage 4 in all our enrolled patients, we found that the degree of fibrosis was significantly higher in HCV plus alcohol-intake group compared to patients with HCV infection alone or alcoholic liver disease only . There was no difference in the degree of fibrosis between Groups A and B, or between Groups C and D. It is interesting to note that, even though the severity of necroinflammation in Group A was significantly lower than the other groups, the degree of fibrosis was significantly higher and similar to Group B. When KruskalWallis regression analysis was performed for analysing the overall stage-dependent transition to fibrosis in all four groups of patients, we found a significant and increasing progression of fibrosis in Groups C and D in contrast to patients with HCV infection only or alcoholic liver disease only . A total of 59 patients developed liver cirrhosis among all four groups of patients. The risk of cirrhosis was significantly higher in Groups B, C and D, compared to Group A . Again, the risk of liver cirrhosis in HCV plus alcohol-intake groups was 1.52.5-fold greater than patients with HCV infection alone .

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Stage : Alcoholic Steatosis

Liver disease begins with small fat droplets accumulating in the liver. Symptoms include:

  • Enlarged blood vessels
  • Erythema
  • Jaundice
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Swollen breasts

Many times, sufferers have no symptoms that alert them to the condition. However, a healthcare professional can diagnose fatty liver with a blood test that checks for elevated liver enzyme levels.

Thankfully, alcoholic fatty liver can be reversed through ceasing alcohol consumption.

How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis C To Others

If you have hepatitis C, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Tell your sex partner you have hepatitis C, and talk with your doctor about safe sex practices. In addition, you can protect others from infection by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers that you have hepatitis C. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.

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Treatment For Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol rehab is often required to help people who are addicted to alcohol stay sober. They have to quit drinking alcohol to recover from alcoholic hepatitis.

In addition to abstinence, treatments for alcoholic hepatitis include:

  • Corticosteroid medications to reduce inflammation
  • Pentoxifylline to improve kidney function
  • Nutritional support to reverse health problems caused by malnutrition

In severe cases, feeding tubes may be necessary to ensure a person receives proper nutrition because many patients with alcoholic hepatitis have low appetite.

Other treatments that address complications associated with alcoholic hepatitis:

  • Ascites can be treated by reducing salt consumption in the diet and taking diuretic medications.
  • Hepatic encephalopathy may be treated with a medication called lactulose and antibiotics that remove toxins from the gut.
  • Kidney failure caused by a condition called hepatorenal syndrome may be treated with a medication called Albumin and drugs that constrict blood vessels, such as terlipressin, midodrine and octreotide, or norepinephrine.

In severe cases, a liver transplant may be necessary. However, many liver transplant centers require six months of abstinence from alcohol before a patient becomes eligible for a transplant.

What Are The Side Effects Of Treatments For Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol-related Hepatitis – Patient Advocate – Jay

Because alcohol is a drug and is addictive, suddenly stopping drinking is difficult and may cause dangerous side effects. For instance, it can cause alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and seizures. Patients may be referred to a medically supervised program, or recommended for counseling or a support group to help them stop drinking and to help cope with side effects.

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The Medical Community Knows The Following:

  • Toxic chemicals are produced by the body when it breaks down alcohol.
  • Those chemicals can bring on inflammation to destroy liver cells
  • Healthy liver tissue can be replaced by scars over time. This interferes with proper liver function.
  • This irreversible scarring is called cirrhosis, marking the last stage of alcoholic liver disease.

You are at an increased risk for alcoholic hepatitis if you have hepatitis C and also drink, whether moderately or heavily. People who are malnourished and drink heavily can develop this disease. Its a vicious cycle: you dont eat because you are drinking and your poor diet prevents your body from properly absorbing nutrients. Then, liver cell damage results due to that lack of nutrients.

Questioning How Much Alcohol Is Safe

It is well acknowledged that a person with chronic hepatitis C and a history of heavy alcohol abuse has an increased chance of developing advanced liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma . Both of these conditions work together to effectively promote the development, progression, and severity of liver disease.

On its own, heavy alcohol intake can lead to a form of non-viral hepatitis called alcoholic hepatitis. When paired with viral hepatitis , the impact on the liver can be exponentially increased.

Hepatitis C has also been found to be more common in people with a history of alcohol abuse than among non-drinkers. While the reasons for this are not entirely clear, we do know two things:

  • That alcohol and injecting drug use are strongly linked, and
  • That injecting drug use remains the predominant mode of hepatitis C transmission in the U.S.

These associations highlight the need to address alcohol intake in all persons with chronic hepatitis C, whether symptomatic or not, as well as the need to address alcohol use whenever embarking upon a hepatitis C virus prevention strategy, particularly among injecting drug users and other high-risk groups.

Learn more about the risks associated with alcohol use and hepatitis C below.

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Stage : Alcoholic Cirrhosis

Stiff and swollen at this stage, the liver has suffered extensive damage. Similarly, its functioning can be severely compromised. Alcoholic cirrhosis is considered to be irreversible.

Symptoms include:

Your healthcare professional can diagnose alcoholic cirrhosis with a physical exam, blood tests and imaging techniques.

A biopsy is the definitive method for diagnosing cirrhosis, however.

Once again, its vital that you stop drinking alcohol to minimize further damage. The survival rate for those with severe cirrhosis is 50 percent at two years and only 35% within five years. Cirrhosis is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Alcohol related cirrhosis puts you at a much risker risk for liver cancer.

Similarly, if you have hepatitis B or C and are a heavy drinker, your risk for cirrhosis increases substantially.

These stages are not necessarily linear or absolute. Someone can have evidence of two or three at once, especially if they have been abusing alcohol for a long time.

The good news is that there are treatments available for cirrhosis. They include dialysis, lifestyle changes, nutritional therapy, and, if all else fails, a liver transplant.

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