Approximately 30% of the world’s population have or have had alcohol problems in the past. This is an important medical and social problem that is exacerbated by the increase in alcohol consumption in Europe, the Americas, and also in Russia. In Germany, out of 75 million inhabitants, 3 million suffer from alcoholism. Approximately 15% of these three million will develop alcoholic liver disease over the next ten years, and within the next twenty years, approximately 75% of them will die from cirrhosis of the liver or related diseases. Alcoholic liver disease claims about 20 million lives worldwide every year. In Russia, according to official figures alone, 10 million people depend on the bottle.
World health organizations have been sounding the alarm for a long time: alcohol literally mows down the male population of the planet. They die, if not from cirrhosis, then from concomitant diseases, not even living up to 50 years. After all, addiction to alcohol increases the likelihood of developing gastric ulcer by 6 times, tuberculosis – 16 times, cardiovascular pathologies – 8 times. Not to mention, there are 10 times more suicides among alcoholics than among the healthy population. Alcohol destroys all organs, but the liver is especially affected, in which the oxidation of ethanol entering the body occurs. Alcoholic liver disease usually leads to the development of diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and steatosis … In the pathogenesis of alcoholic illness, not only long-term intake of dangerous concentrations of ethanol plays an important role, but also related factors.
First, there is nutritional deficiency. It is believed that the unsaturation of food with carbohydrates and supersaturation of refractory fats in alcoholism provoke the development of severe liver damage. Obesity becomes an independent factor, in which all the processes of the body are even more disturbed in connection with the intake of alcohol-containing liquids. By the way, in women, alcoholic liver disease develops much faster than in men and is more severe, the number of deaths is about five times higher. Doctors associate this with hormonal changes, and also with a low concentration of the gastric fraction that breaks down ethanol. As a result, much more of this substance enters the liver. Small doses of ethanol, according to some researchers, not only do not harm the body, but, on the contrary, have a positive effect on the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Other experts say that even minor intoxications provoke the early development of arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis, and mental disorders. In any case, the WHO has calculated that men should not consume more than 21 servings of ethanol per week, and women – more than 14 doses. In this case, one dose is equal to 150 milliliters of dry wine, or 250 milliliters of beer, or 40 milliliters of an alcoholic beverage containing about 40%. When observing the systems of the human body, which takes small doses of ethanol, it became clear that they can be completely metabolized in the Krebs cycle. But at the same time, in the process of processing, an excess amount of cholesterol, palmitate, lactate (all these are fatty acids) and other high-energy compounds appear . It is they that, when accumulated, contribute to the early development of atherosclerosis.
The systematic intake of large doses of alcohol leads to hypoxia and necrosis of the liver parenchyma. Alcoholic liver disease can occur if a person takes more than 40 grams of pure ethanol per day. A dose of more than 80 grams is considered deadly. According to statistics, most men with cirrhosis consumed more than 160 grams of ethanol per day . Alcoholic liver disease has several disease stages that can be combined. First, it is fatty liver or steatosis . The disease is most often asymptomatic, diagnosed in the presence of hepatomegaly (that is, a strong increase in the liver). Signs of severe liver failure may appear: hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, hypoalbuminemia , severe jaundice.
Cirrhosis of the liver is accompanied by an increased risk of developing hepatic encephalopathy, changes in behavior, consciousness and level of intelligence, lack of spatial thinking, loss of interest in the family, slurred voice, slow speech. Most often, alcoholic disorders in the liver affect people who do not suffer from withdrawal symptoms, can drink a lot, and have been practicing this occupation for more than ten years. Treatment of such patients should be comprehensive, and depends on the phase of the disease. The main method of treatment is abstinence from alcohol in any form. Also, the doctor may prescribe membrane – stimulating drugs, glucocorticosteroids , drugs with hypoammonoemic action. In addition, people suffering from alcoholism need to eat full and high-calorie.