How Is Hepatitis A Spread
The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. The hepatitis A virus is spread when someone ingests the virus, usually through:
Eating contaminated food or drink
Contamination of food with the hepatitis A virus can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. Contamination of food and water happens more often in countries where hepatitis A is common. Although uncommon, foodborne outbreaks have occurred in the United States from people eating contaminated fresh and frozen imported food products.
Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.
What Causes Alcoholic Hepatitis
When alcohol gets processed in the liver, it produces highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals can injure the liver cells. This injury can lead to inflammation and, eventually, alcoholic hepatitis.
Although heavy alcohol use can lead to alcoholic hepatitis, experts arent entirely sure why the condition develops in some people but not in others.
Alcoholic hepatitis develops in a minority of people who heavily use alcohol no more than 35 percent, according to the American Liver Foundation. It can also develop in people who use alcohol only moderately.
Because alcoholic hepatitis doesnt occur in all people who heavily use alcohol, other factors may influence the development of this condition.
Risk factors include:
- having genetic factors that affect how the body processes alcohol
- living with liver infections or other liver disorders, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and hemochromatosis
Your doctor may order a liver biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis. A liver biopsy requires your doctor to remove a tissue sample from the liver. Its an invasive procedure with certain inherent risks, but biopsy results can show the severity and type of liver condition.
Hepatitis C Alcohol And Alcoholic Hepatitis
Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. Several things can lead to the condition one major cause is hepatitis C, which can result from a viral infection. Another is alcohol consumption, which can cause alcoholic hepatitis.
These two types of hepatitis are separate conditions. However, alcohol consumption and the hepatitis C virus also have associations with one another.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , HCV infection appears to be more prevalent among people with alcohol abuse disorder. Consuming alcohol also worsens HCV and can interfere with its treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about the association between hepatitis C and alcohol, as well as symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of alcoholic hepatitis.
No, it is not possible to get hepatitis C from alcohol. This condition results from a viral infection, which a person can only contract if they have exposure to blood containing HCV.
However, excessive alcohol consumption may raise the risk of acquiring HCV. According to the NIAAA , research from the 1990s found that people with alcohol abuse disorder had higher rates of HCV than the control group. This was true even for individuals with no other HCV risk factors.
Scientists are not sure why HCV is more common in those who consume excess alcohol. However, some believe alcohol makes it easier for the virus to enter and remain inside the body.
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Organizations Specializing In Alcohol
The following organizations are good additional resources about alcohol-related liver disease.
- Alcoholics Anonymous provides group support for those who have difficulty maintaining sobriety
- Al-Anon provides group support for family members and friends worried about someone with a drinking problem
- Alateen provides group support for younger family members and friends affected about those with a drinking problem.
- ACO online resource provides information about binge drinking
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations treatment locator can find various treatment centers
Can Hepatitis C And Alcoholic Hepatitis Coexist
Hepatitis due to both HCV and alcohol abuse can coexist. According to a 2018 article, it is common for the two conditions to occur simultaneously.
Excessive alcohol consumption can accelerate and multiply the damage due to HCV, worsening liver cirrhosis. However, even small amounts of alcohol can exacerbate HCV. It may also interfere with HCV treatment by causing the virus to become resistant to medication.
Although both conditions are responsible for liver inflammation, there are differences in the symptoms of HCV and alcoholic hepatitis.
According to the World Health Organization , around of people with HCV show no symptoms after contracting the initial infection. They may not realize they have the virus until later if it becomes chronic and causes liver damage.
Individuals who do experience hepatitis C symptoms may develop:
- tenderness in the liver
- systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which involves fever, fast heart rate, and fast breathing
It is important to note that HCV is contagious. If a person is unsure if they have contracted the infection, they should take safety precautions to prevent others from coming into contact with their blood.
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Causes Of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Alcoholic hepatitis develops when the alcohol that you drink damages your liver. Just how alcohol damages the liver and why it does so only in some heavy drinkers isnt clear.
It is known that:
- The bodys process for breaking down alcohol produces highly toxic chemicals
- These chemicals trigger inflammation that destroys liver cells
- Over time, scars replace healthy liver tissue, interfering with liver function
- This irreversible scarring is the final stage of alcoholic liver disease
Other factors that can contribute to alcoholic hepatitis include:
- Other types of hepatitis. If you have hepatitis C and also drink even moderately youre more likely to develop cirrhosis than if you dont drink.
- Malnutrition. Many people who drink heavily are malnourished, because they eat poorly or because alcohol and its byproducts prevent the body from properly absorbing nutrients. Lack of nutrients contributes to liver cell damage.
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Patients Enrollment And Data Acquisition
Medical records of all inpatient subjects diagnosed for the first time with liver cirrhosis in the third affiliated hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China from January 2010 to December 2019 were retrospectively collected from the hospital electronic database of medical record. The identification of the cirrhosis cases was made using ICD-10-CM codes of liver cirrhosis . Patients with Wilson Disease, autoimmune liver disease, congenital biliary atresia, multiple etiologies other than ALD+HBV and ALD+HCV, unknown etiology, and those with incomplete data were excluded. The remaining cases were divided into five groups based on the etiology of cirrhosis: alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis , hepatitis B virus-induced liver cirrhosis , hepatitis C virus-induced liver cirrhosis , coexisting ALD and HBV , and coexisting ALD and HCV . Information such as sex, age at admission, laboratory data, clinical complications and history of antiviral treatment, alcohol consumption and alcohol abstinence were collected. Different liver function assessment scores such as ChildPugh classification, MELD score, GAHS and MDS were calculated. The calculation formulas and criteria for diagnosis of each type of cirrhosis and its complications is detailed in the Additional file .
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Can You Get Hepatitis From Drinking Alcohol
The short answer is yes. Its called alcoholic hepatitis and it involves the inflammation of the liver brought on by drinking alcohol. This affliction is most common in those who drink heavily over the course of many years and decades. That being said, not all heavy alcoholics will fall victim to hepatitis, while others who only have an occasional drink have been known to contract it.
The bottom line is that those who face an alcoholic hepatitis diagnosis must quit drinking right away and never take it up again. If you keep drinking, you can risk serious liver damage, liver failure and death. The most common symptom of alcoholic hepatitis is when the whites of the eyes turn yellow. This is also known as jaundice.
Hepatitis And Pancreatitis Caused By Alcoholic Abuse
10 minute read
Liver and pancreas are vital organs in the digestive system. The abnormalities of liver and pancreas are usually susceptible to develop further serious diseases due to their complicated structures and functions. Disorders of the liver and pancreas can range from mildly troublesome to intensely painful. It might start from acute to chronic inflammation and infection, benign hepatic or pancreatic tumor and hepatic cysts as well as liver and pancreatic cancers.
It is widely acknowledged that alcohol abuse or alcoholism is one of the major contributing factors to develop acute and chronic inflammation of both liver and pancreas. Fatal conditions caused by alcoholic abuse include a severely liver inflammation, acute liver failure or/and cirrhosis presented with liver cancer. Besides serious conditions of liver and pancreas, other bodys systems are substantially impacted including digestive system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, kidney, blood circulation and coagulation process as well as impaired immune system which subsequently leads to severe infection and sepsis. These health conditions largely disrupt the quality of life, both physically and mentally. Early diagnosis and timely treatment result in decreased disease severity and reduced mortality rates.
Cirrhosis Of The Liver
Cirrhosis happens when scar tissue permanently replaces the healthy tissue of your liver. Scar tissue affects the normal function of your liver and can eventually cause it to fail.
If you develop cirrhosis as a result of heavy alcohol use, alcoholic hepatitis can get worse. Cirrhosis can also raise your risk of liver cancer.
Key Points About Alcoholic Hepatitis
- Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that leads to liver cell damage and cell death.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by drinking too much alcohol. The liver breaks down alcohol and if, over time, you drink more alcohol than the liver can process, it can become seriously damaged.
- Alcoholic hepatitis usually develops over time with continued drinking. Severe alcoholic hepatitis can develop suddenly and quickly lead to liver failure and death.
- You must completely stop drinking alcohol and may need an alcohol treatment program. Sometimes diet changes are recommended, too. Treatment involves reducing the symptoms and halting the progression of the disease.
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How Can You Prevent Alcoholic Hepatitis
The best way to prevent alcoholic hepatitis is to avoid alcohol or drink only in moderation. Moderate drinking is defined as less than two drinks per day for men and less than one drink per day for women.
You can also reduce your risk by taking steps to protect yourself from hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The bloodborne viruses that cause these conditions can be transmitted in several ways, including shared needles or razors and through body fluids during sex. Currently, vaccines are available for hepatitis B, but not for hepatitis C.
Your healthcare team may also recommend certain lifestyle changes based on your specific symptoms and health needs.
When Does Alcoholic Hepatitis Happen
There is no clear cut criteria as to how much someone has to drink to get alcoholic hepatitis, While its general cause is known to be long-term, heavy drinking, not all heavy drinkers will experience this acute type of liver damage. Both binge drinkers and consistently heavy drinkers can find themselves at risk, but those who drink on a daily basis have a higher likelihood. Studies have shown that 60 g of alcohol intake for men, and 20 g greatly contributes to the risk factors.
The exact timeline of when alcoholic hepatitis occurs is unknown, however, the likelihood can be affected by a number of factors such as gender, race, BMI, and quantity and duration of alcohol consumption.
- Women have lower alcohol tolerance than men have twice the risk of developing drinking-related liver issues
- Minorities are more likely to develop severe alcoholic hepatitis due to genetic disposition
- Being overweight can contribute to a fatty liver, a frequent precursor to alcoholic hepatitis
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Effects Of Untreated Hepatitis
The liver is responsible for filtering harmful substances from the blood. Both alcohol and hepatitis hinder the livers ability to clean our blood, but symptoms of hepatitis may be so slight as to go unnoticed for years.
The median time it takes for symptoms of HCV and end stage liver disease to develop is 30 years.
About 40% of people with HCV develop at least one co-occurring health complication in addition to liver damage. Damage to blood vessels and joints can result in nerve damage, skin sores, stroke, and heart attacks. Rheumatoid arthritis, neurological problems, kidney damage, Type 2 Diabetes, and rare bone diseases all can stem from the damage caused by hepatitis.
Once diagnosed, its critical that individuals begin treatment of their hepatitis immediately to prevent any further damage. Those with alcoholic hepatitis must cease drinking permanently. There are no cures for hepatitis, but treatment by a number of medications can manage symptoms and curb the virus. Most cases of HBV and HCV will resolve without medical intervention and dont require a visit to the hospital except for prescription medication. However, due to the concomitant alcoholism, alcoholic hepatitis requires medical attention.
How Can Alcohol Use Cause Hepatitis
Every food and drink you consume passes through your liver for processing. Your liver helps metabolize nutrients and filters out toxins. When alcohol goes to your liver for processing, it acts as a toxin. It offers no nutritional value and instead breaks down into poisonous chemicals.
Chronic heavy alcohol use can overload your liver with fat and toxins to process. When your liver can no longer keep up, these toxins and fat build up and begin to injure your liver. The injury produces an inflammatory response. This is your bodys way of attempting to heal and ward off further injury.
Like a fever, inflammation is supposed to be a temporary intervention. But when the assault is constant, the inflammation becomes constant. In your liver, this means swelling with fluid. If the swelling is severe and persistent, over time it will damage the tissues, causing cell death.
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Psychological Symptoms Of Alcohol
If your liver is damaged by alcohol-induced hepatitis, you may act differently and experience confusion. These behavioral changes come from a nervous system disorder called hepatic encephalopathy . Its caused by toxins that build up when your liver isnt working right.
Symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy come in stages ranging from mild to severe:
- impaired coordination
- extreme anxiety
Someone who shows signs of HE and drinks heavily is likely to suffer from alcohol-induced hepatitis as well.
Sexual Differences In Incidence
Women are more susceptible than men to the adverse effects of alcohol. Women develop alcoholic hepatitis after a shorter period and smaller amounts of alcohol abuse than men, and alcoholic hepatitis progresses more rapidly in women than in men.
The estimated minimum daily ethanol intake required for the development of cirrhosis is 40 g for men and 20 g for women older than 15-20 years. Furthermore, for patients who continue to drink after a diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 30% for women compared with 70% for men.
To date, no single factor can account for this increased female susceptibility to alcoholic liver damage. Lower gastric mucosal alcohol dehydrogenase content in women has been suggested to possibly lead to less first-pass clearance of alcohol in the stomach. A higher prevalence of autoantibodies has been found in the sera of alcoholic females compared with alcoholic males, but their clinical significance is questionable. Perhaps hormonal influences on the metabolism of alcohol or the higher prevalence of immunologic abnormalities is responsible for the differences described in the prevalence of alcoholic liver damage between men and women.
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Pearls And Other Issues
The combination of systemic illness, malnutrition, concurrent renal injury, infections, lack of response to glucocorticoids or pentoxifylline result in poorer outcomes in severe alcoholic hepatitis. Further understanding of the pathophysiology of alcohol-induced liver injury, early recognition, including complications and potentially better pharmacological approach could in the future improve clinical outcomes in patients with severe AH. A better understanding of alcohol-related liver injury, inflammation, liver fibrosis, and liver regeneration and associated gut-barrier permeability and dysfunction, along with newer pharmacological breakthroughs to treat AH would likely improve our present management strategies.
Scarring Of The Liver
Around 1 in 5 heavy drinkers have cirrhosis.
Fat and inflammation in the liver lead to scarring. When the scarring is severe, this is called cirrhosis.
Scar tissue replaces healthy cells. This means that the liver cannot work properly and can fail. Liver failure is a life-threatening condition.
Cirrhosis may not cause symptoms.
Symptoms of liver cirrhosis include:
Most people who develop cirrhosis and liver failure do not notice symptoms until its too late.
Cirrhosis can also be caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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Are Men Or Women More Likely To Get Alcoholic Hepatitis
Women appear to be more likely to suffer liver damage from alcohol.
Even when a man and woman have the same weight and drink the same amount, the woman generally has a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood because she has relatively more body fat and less water than the man, and her body handles alcohol differently.
What Are The Complications Of Alcohol
Complications from alcohol-related liver disease usually occur after years of heavy drinking. These complications can be serious.
They may include liver related conditions that are a consequence of portal hypertension:
- build up of fluid in the abdomen
- bleeding from veins in the esophagus or stomach
- enlarged spleen
In addition alcoholic liver disease may be accompanied by multi-organ non-liver conditions.
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