Harms of alcohol
Almost 2000 liters of blood flow through the liver every day. Whatever pollutants circulate in the body, she gets. The liver bears the brunt of breaking down alcohol. Health…
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Almost 2000 liters of blood flow through the liver every day. Whatever pollutants circulate in the body, she gets. The liver bears the brunt of breaking down alcohol. Their enzymes break down the cell toxin ethanol into its components until only harmless acetic acid and carbon dioxide are left. This creates an intermediate product that is even more toxic than the drinking alcohol itself: acetaldehyde.
From 40 grams of alcohol per day, which corresponds to two pints of beer or two quarters of wine, it is likely that the liver will suffer in the long term. For women, half is enough. The body’s central detoxification organ is extremely adaptable. If there is a lot of alcohol circulating in the blood, the liver swells and increases its capacity for elimination. At some point, however, poison and misdirected cell signals throw the organ out of rhythm. The liver continues to break down alcohol, but neglects other tasks.
For example, fatty acids build up in the organ and can no longer be transported to the tissues – the liver becomes fatty. If you consistently omit the alcohol, the fatty liver can regress. If you refill, you risk permanent liver damage.
Liver tissue perishes with chronic alcohol consumption. Instead, connective tissue proliferates in the organ. Liver function gradually declines. In the early stages, the conversion is theoretically still reversible, but not later.
The final stage of liver damage is called liver cirrhosis. The scarred, shriveled liver only works insufficiently. Metabolism and hormonal balance get mixed up and the body lacks important proteins for blood clotting. The nodular scarred liver also increases the risk of liver cancer.
Risk of bleeding
Liver cirrhosis also affects blood circulation. Normally, deoxygenated blood from the digestive tract flows through the liver on its way to the heart. If the organ is damaged by cirrhosis, the blood backs up in front of the liver in the portal vein. The blood stream seeks an alternative route and flows towards the heart via veins in the esophagus.
Under the unforeseen pressure, these blood vessels bulge like varicose veins in the lining of the esophagus. If the so-called esophageal varices rupture – for example when vomiting – it can bleed life-threateningly.
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