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Ask the Experts
Consumption of large quantities of alcoholic beverages over a long period of time, causes steatosis (fatty liver). This process is transient and reversible. When a person drinks alcohol heavily over the course of decades, the body starts to replace the liver’s healthy tissue with scar tissue. As the disease progresses, and more of your healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, your liver will stop functioning properly, leading to cirrhosis.Of all chronic heavy drinkers, 15–20% develop hepatitis or cirrhosis, which can occur concomitantly or in succession.
- Portal hypertension, which increases blood pressure in the vein that travels through the liver.
- Skin itching(pruritus)
The first step in treatment is to help the person stop drinking. Liver transplantation remains the only definitive therapy.6-month sobriety is a prerequisite, along with psychiatric evaluation and rehabilitation assistance.