Alcohol induced liver disease is caused because of heavy drinking over a period of time. The fat accumulation caused by heavy drinking builds up in the liver, it becomes enlarged and causes fatty liver. Alcohol induced liver disease could cause cirrhosis or liver cancer. “Alcoholic liver causes fatty, swollen, inflammatory and some structural changes in the liver,” says, Dr Kavya Dendukuri, senior hepatologist & gastroenterologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad.
It is important for someone with an alcohol induced liver disease to modify their lifestyle, their diet, and cut down on the consumption of alcohol in order for the liver to heal or regenerate. Dr. Lovkesh Anand, consultant, medical gastroenterology and hepatology, Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, Gujarat explains that whenever there is a liver injury, there will be weakness, loss of appetite, pain, nausea, and sometimes even jaundice.
Once the condition of the liver improves, these parameters will also start improving. Dr Dendukuri adds that if we stop alcohol, the dead liver cells can regrow, and the liver can regenerate.
Signs of regeneration from alcohol-induced liver disease
Improved liver function, better expulsion of toxins
Once there is reduction of alcohol and lifestyle modifications, when the liver starts to heal, there is an improved liver function and better expulsion of toxins. Dr Manoj Vithlani, Senior Consultant physician & diabetologist, HCG Hospitals, Ahmedabad says that improved liver function and better expulsion of toxins can be determined through medical tests such as liver function tests and imaging studies like ultrasound or MRI.
When the liver heals, the liver enzymes also improve. Dr Anand says that through this we know that the liver is improving, and toxins are being released.
Better body weight balance
Alcohol induced liver disease can cause sudden weight gain. Dr Dendukuri adds that people with alcoholic liver diseases generally lose muscle, (because protein is lost as the liver is not functioning), which causes weight loss. “Body weight balance may vary depending on factors like overall health, diet, and exercise, but improving liver function can contribute to better weight management,” says Dr Vithlani.
Dr. Anand adds that a nutritious treatment is important for managing one’s weight while healing from the disease.
Dr Anand explains that for people with alcohol induced liver disease, there will be a loss in appetite. Once the liver starts healing, and alcohol is cut down, there are significant changes in the appetite which help the person. “Changes in appetite can occur as the liver heals, and it varies among individuals. Some may experience an increase or decrease in appetite,” says Dr Vithlani.
Normalised eye and skin colour
Alcohol induced liver disease can cause jaundice, which causes yellow discoloration. “When jaundice comes down, the yellowish discolouration decreases, but it takes time,” says Dr Anand.
Dr. Vithlani adds that the colour of the eye and skin can gradually return to normal as the liver heals, but it may take time and varies from person to person.
Improved blood clotting due to increase in blood platelets
Alcohol induced liver disease can cause cirrhosis, which lowers the platelet count and causes blood loss. Dr Vithlani explains that alcohol-induced liver disease can affect blood platelet levels, and as the liver heals, platelet count may improve, which can help enhance blood clotting ability.
Fewer instances of brain fog
“Brain fog is an extreme case that can be caused by acute liver disease and cirrhosis,” says Dr Anand. This can improve with treatment of alcohol induced liver disease.
Dr. Vithlani adds that brain fog can potentially decrease as the liver heals from alcohol-induced liver disease, as the liver plays a crucial role in detoxification and metabolizing substances that can affect cognitive function.
Better immunity is one of the signs of liver healing from alcoholic liver disease. Because of excess alcohol consumption, and toxins on the liver, the immunity of a person with alcohol induced liver disease is low. “As the liver heals, overall health can improve, including the immune system,” Dr Vithlan says. Therefore, there is a possibility of improved immunity with the healing of alcohol-induced liver disease. Dr Anand adds that when the body washes out all the toxins from the body, there can be better immunity.
Liver injury can cause pain. Dr Vithlani explains that pain reduction can occur as the liver regenerates and heals. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.
Dr Anand adds that the pain and the liver get better over time as the liver heals.
Feeling more energetic
Alcohol induced liver disease can lead to lower energy levels. Experts explain that when the liver improves, the person’s energy also improves. Dr Vithlani explains that with the healing of the liver, energy levels may improve, as the liver is responsible for metabolizing nutrients that provide energy to the body.
Improved blood glucose levels
Alcoholic induced liver disease can cause high blood sugar. Dr Vithlani explains that blood glucose levels can improve as the liver recovers from alcohol-induced liver disease. This is because the liver helps to regulate blood sugar levels.