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NCJ Number: 157971 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Alcohol and the Liver
Corporate Author: US Dept of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
United States of America
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20892-9304
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

US Dept of Health and Human Services
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
5635 Fishers Lane, MSC 9304
Rockville, MD 20892-9304
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Literature Review
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Alcoholic liver disease is one of the most serious medical consequences of chronic alcohol use, and chronic excessive alcohol use is the single most important cause of illness and death from liver disease (alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis) in the United States.
Abstract: Normal liver function is essential to life. The liver filters circulating blood, removing and destroying toxic substances; it secretes bile into the small intestine to help digest and absorb fats, and it is involved in many of the metabolic systems of the body. The three alcohol-induced liver conditions are fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. some degree of fat deposition usually occurs in the liver after short-term excessive use of alcohol; however, fatty liver rarely causes illness. In some heavy drinkers, alcohol consumption leads to severe alcoholic hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver characterized by fever, jaundice, and abdominal pain. The most advanced form of alcoholic liver injury is alcoholic cirrhosis. This condition is marked by progressive development of scar tissue that chokes off blood vessels and distorts the normal architecture of the liver. A patient may have only one of the three alcohol-induced conditions or any combination of them. Traditionally, they have been considered sequentially related, progressing from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis to cirrhosis; however, some studies have shown that alcoholics may progress to cirrhosis without passing through any visible stage of hepatitis. Fatty liver is reversible with abstinence. Alcoholic hepatitis may be fatal but can be reversible with abstinence. Alcoholic cirrhosis is often progressive and fatal, but it can stabilize with abstinence. Most alcoholic cirrhosis deaths occur in people aged 40-65 years. This paper concludes with explanations of the mechanisms by which alcohol injures the liver and with a summary of the common treatments for alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis. 45 references
Main Term(s): Drug effects
Index Term(s): Alcohol abuse; Alcohol abuse education
Note: From Alcohol Alert No. 19, January 1993.
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