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Hepatitis, Alcoholic

Overview :

Irritation, be it from toxins or infections, causes a similar response in body organs. The response is known as inflammation and consists of:

  • an increase in the blood to the affected organ
  • redness and swelling of the organ
  • influx of immune agents like white blood cells and their arsenal of chemical weapons
  • pain

As the acute process subsides, there is either healing or lingering activity. Lingering activity—chronic disease—has a milder presentation with similar ingredients. Healing often takes the form of scarring, wherein normal functioning tissue is replaced by tough, fibrous, and non-productive scar. Both chronic disease and healing can happen simultaneously, so that scar tissue progressively replaces normal tissue. This leads to cirrhosis, a liver so scarred it is unable to do its job adequately.

Alcohol can cause either an acute or a chronic disease in the liver. The acute disease can be severe, even fatal, and can bring with it hemolysis-blood cell destruction. Alcohol can also cause a third type of liver disease, fatty liver, in which the continuous action of alcohol turns the liver to useless fat. This condition eventually progresses to cirrhosis if the poisoning continues.

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