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Protect Your Liver by Understanding the Impact of Alcohol this World Hepatitis Day 2023.

World Hepatitis Day itself sets the right stage for the discussion of liver diseases and treatments. It is an important day to discover and learn about various problems and their solutions related to liver diseases. The unfortunate development of liver diseases especially among youth is an alarming issue that has to be addressed. Hence, we will explore the reason behind this alarming data and what steps can be taken to save ourselves in today’s times. 


Table of Contents:
  • Changing demographics of liver diseases
  • Treatment options for liver diseases
  • Environmental factors and liver health
  • Understanding moderate alcohol consumption
  • Liver transplantation process
  • Maintaining liver health for non-alcoholics


Changing Demographics of Liver Diseases


Past vs present causes-


Earlier, hepatitis B and C were the main causes of liver failure and death. They were the dominant players in liver disease cases contributing 30 to 40% of the total cases. In this portion, 20% of the total were alcohol related cases. Some of the cases were related to non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. To be specific, 10 to 15% were related to non-alcoholic scenarios. The rest of the cases contributed up to 20 to 25% of the total number. But these trends only reflected earlier fashion of alcohol consumption without awareness.


Today, the patterns have shifted in large numbers. Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases are ahead of liver failure causes than alcohol consumption. It contributes up to 35% of the total cases. Alcoholic liver failure cases remain almost the same in numbers which is up to 30%. Along with this, hepatitis B and C have grown to a larger level than before. This transformation represents today’s changed scenario finely. Poor lifestyle choices are leading to various diseases like metabolism issues, diabetes and so on, causing liver failure. Genetic cases are also on rise.

Factors that have contributed to the change-


Understanding the shift requires a knowledge of the factors that have contributed to it. Lifestyle choices are the leading cause of liver failure today. Our diet, daily routine, amount of physical activity and different habits result in whether the liver will stay healthy or not. A sedentary lifestyle combined with an unhealthy diet can affect liver health in huge amounts. Additionally, alcohol is only adding to this overall problem. Especially among youth, a lot of cases have been observed compared to the older generation. This warns us to increase the awareness of the disease as well as the importance of lifestyle choices.


Treatment Options for Liver Diseases


  1. Early liver disease: Managing early liver diseases can be directly linked to lifestyle choices and medical attention. These two factors can prove to be transformative for several individuals as early liver diseases are easier to cure. Maintaining a balanced diet along with managing any chronic condition like diabetes can help individuals avoid the failure of liver. In fact, it may also reverse the disease by 50 to 70%!
  2. Viral infections: Even viral infections in early stages like hepatitis B and C are easily curable. When given the right treatment, they can be eliminated completely. Various medications can avoid the requirement of immediate liver transplant to a huge extent. 
  3. Liver transplant: One of the last and less chosen treatment options include the transplantation of liver. But no matter the expenses and difficulty, it is a life saver and a game changer in the worst situation. End stage liver diseases can be ended with the liver transplantation process. Even the success rates are very high which eliminates the fear of losing oneself during the process. 


Environmental Factors and Liver Health


The health of the organ liver not only depends on what we eat or drink but also in the environment we live in. An environment full of pollution like air pollution or water pollution can cause liver issues in no time. All of it can have a notable impact on the liver in a short span of time.


For instance, water pollution can expose people to deadly diseases like hepatitis A or E. Contaminated water can support these diseases to a huge extent and cause death in no time. Additionally, air pollution can cause cancer of different types, including liver cancer. The presence of harmful pollutants in the air we take in can slowly affect our overall health and the functioning of the liver.


Understanding Moderate Alcohol Consumption


Understanding limited alcohol consumption is important for health-related decisions. It typically means moderating the consumption of the liquid to avoid significant health problems. Based on the recent data, men are advised to stay within the limit of 10 units while women are advised to stay within the limit of 7 units. To give you a view, 1 unit can mean 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 30 to 45 ml of spirits. Dr. Arvinder Soin, Chairman at the Institute of Liver Transplantation, points that the best alternative is always to not consume alcohol at all as even moderate consumption can cause various diseases at times. But sometimes, limiting can help too.


Liver Transplantation Process


Liver transplantation is a breakthrough solution, often termed lifesaving in several cases. In living donor transplant, an individual’s liver is taken out and transplanted into the recipient’s body. The donor’s liver organ regenerates in a few months and both of the individuals end up living a healthy life ahead. In the deceased donor transplant, organs from individuals that are brain dead and consented for the same are used. Patients wait for a particular time as NOTO confirms the process and proceeds ahead. 


Maintaining Liver Health for Non-Alcoholics


In order to maintain good liver health, one must be aware of various diseases and the importance of timely check-ups. Visiting medical professionals at regular intervals of time can be lifesaving. Screenings such as liver functioning tests, ultrasounds and FibroScan can be used to detect liver diseases in early stages. Identified cases should go through timely screenings and check-ups. Following a healthy diet and workout routine can be an additional point. 


This blog has been converted from the PR article - World Hepatitis Day 2023: No alcohol is good for liver

Dr Arvinder Singh Soin
Liver Transplant
Meet The Doctor
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