When you’re young, there is often a feeling of invincibility. Of course, no one is a superhero, but serious health conditions can feel a world away. Patients in their 20s and 30s may think nothing of going out, having a few drinks, and fighting a hangover at work the next day. In fact, even having a few heavy drinking sessions like this per month may take no toll. But for some, there is a fine line between moderate and heavy drinking and alcoholism. Recent research shows startling statistics of a rise in cirrhosis deaths in younger age groups. Read on to learn how much is too much, and how to prevent cirrhosis.

How Much Is Too Much?

There are very clear guidelines set forth by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which outline that moderate drinking for men is no more than two drinks per day, with never more than five in a sitting. For women, drinking in moderation is one drink per day, never to exceed four in one period. This level of moderate drinking does not cause health problems–to the contrary, drinking small amounts in moderation has been connected to the prevention of hypertension and heart disease.

What Is Cirrhosis?

Recent statistics show an increase in deaths from cirrhosis in the 25 to 34 age group. Cirrhosis is a serious disease long associated with career alcoholics, as it is a permanent liver disease. When you begin to drink alcoholically, as in a large quantity of alcohol each day or most days of the week, each drink begins to harm your liver. This can cause permanent scarring (cirrhosis). Eventually, this scarring will cause the liver to stop working. For most, liver failure causes death. Frighteningly, there has also been a significant spike in cases of liver cancer and young people, which is also often fatal.

Heavy drinkers who experience high liver enzymes or fatty liver disease can usually recover if they are able to stop drinking. Typically, the liver is very elastic, and it can bounce back from years of drinking with complete abstinence. This is not the case with cirrhosis. If cirrhosis is caught in the early stages, it can be arrested to a degree, but some of the damage is permanent. Abstinence at the diagnosis point certainly helps, but medical treatment is required to fight the disease.

Liver Disease Symptoms

As everyone’s body is different, some heavy drinkers will suffer from serious liver issues like cirrhosis, while others may be seemingly unscathed. Unfortunately, cirrhosis symptoms aren’t always noticeable until the end stages, and many patients do not realize they have liver disease until it is too late. Patients should always speak to their physician if they’re experiencing common liver symptoms, such as jaundice, swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles, or easier bruising. Other telltale signs of cirrhosis include bleeding gums, accelerated heartbeat, loss of hair, and confusion. It is possible for cirrhosis to be treated if it is discovered in the earlier stages. First-line treatment often begins with complete alcohol abstinence. To hear more on the relationship between alcohol and liver or gut health, or if you need help with other GI issues, make an appointment with Dr. Sameer Islam today.

Dr Sameer Islam Cta Photo


Serving the Greater West Texas Area

About the Author