Effects of alcohol abuse
I fooled myself thinking that no one will know that I was taking alcohol. This problem started way back when I was still in my upper primary school. My dad usually left some alcohol on glasses after sipping his usual ‘ evening best’. I would later sneak and have the addicting sips. This was the beginning of my long journey as an alcoholic. In high school, I was not in school almost all the weekends. We would either be watching the weekend football or be in town drinking alcohol.
I covered myself with the wrong inner circle friends. It worsened my situation. Today I have liver cirrhosis and I regret the life I lived. I want to change for the better, I want to teach the younger generation about drug awareness and their adverse effects. These statements frequent my eyes whenever I attend a drug awareness meeting. The worrying trend of drug abuse among the youths.
Statistics on alcohol abuse
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs among youths and young adults. In fact, in the USA alone over two million people are affected by the disease. That gives an approximation of more than one percent being affected by alcohol-related diseases. It is not surprising to meet a fifteen-year-old person walking along the corridors in a drunken stupor. Alcohol is very addictive in nature and once consumed there is the general feeling of needing more or unlocking as they put.
Alcoholism is one of the most common diseases caused by excess and chronic use of alcohol. Alcoholism comes with a myriad of issues. Drinking alcohol is the one cause of road traffic accidents world over. Taking alcohol reduces the conscious level of an individual thereby impairing or occluding their judgment. Alcohol also leads to alcohol poisoning and blackouts when taken in excess. This can easily lead to death. Another common disease caused by alcohol consumption is an alcoholic liver disease. The alcoholic liver disease occurs after chronic consumption of what is called ‘moderate drink’. Women may be more prone to alcoholic liver disease but the disease has almost equal incidence in both men and women.
Symptoms of the alcoholic liver disease
An alcoholic liver disease is a progressive inflammatory liver cells injury due to chronic consumption of ethanol. The affected patients present with intermittent fever, coagulopathy, portal hypertension, jaundice, and more commonly ascites. The alcoholic liver disease may progress to liver cirrhosis especially when ethanol intake continues. However, when alcohol consumption is stopped, the liver cells may start regenerating.
The mechanism of how the liver cells are destroyed until one is diagnosed with the disease is poorly understood. But environmental, genetical, metabolic and nutritional factors have been implicated. Other factors include immunologic factors as well as cytokines and some viral disease.
Complications of the alcoholic liver disease
The overall thirty-day mortality rate in patients admitted for an alcoholic liver disease is approximately 30 percent but the number may rise especially in patients with complications. One of the common complications of alcoholic liver disease is a variceal hemorrhage. It is the common and frustrating emergencies in the field of medicine. Resuscitating the patients and maintaining the airway remains the choice of management just like any other emergencies. Another complication of alcoholic liver disease is hepatic encephalopathy. It is associated with a very poor prognosis and it is management is more of elective. Close monitoring of the patient and administering lactulose remains the mainstay of treatment.
Coagulopathy is another complication of the alcoholic liver disease. Giving fresh frozen plasma is the treatment of choice to replenish the depleted prothrombin store.
Management of the alcoholic liver disease
Alcoholic liver disease being a lifestyle disease, the best mode of preventing it is through education and awareness. Given that alcohol is also highly addictive, those who have been affected highly require counselling. The patient should be taken to a rehabilitation facility to facilitate their recovery process. Creating awareness remains the best mode of treatment all over the world.