Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

Glass of liquor with liver module, CO

Treat Your Condition With the Highest Quality Care in Denver, CO

Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is a challenging medical condition that affects individuals who have struggled with excessive alcohol consumption. At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology, we offer compassionate care and comprehensive treatment to patients in the Denver, CO area facing the complex symptoms of ARLD. With our team of experienced medical specialists and a commitment to providing expert care throughout the Rocky Mountain region, we are here to restore hope and provide support to individuals seeking treatment for this serious condition.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms or you’ve been newly diagnosed, learn more about alcohol-related liver disease and Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology’s treatment options that can help improve your quality of life today.

ARLD & Associated Health Risks

Alcohol-related liver disease is a preventable disease that encompasses a series of conditions resulting from prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption. The liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol and detoxifying the body, and chronic alcohol abuse places immense strain on this vital organ, leading to inflammation and damage to liver cells. Over time, this impairment disrupts the liver’s ability to perform essential functions, such as eliminating toxins from the blood, processing nutrients, and supporting protein synthesis. The rate of progression varies depending on individual factors, including the amount and duration of alcohol consumption, genetics, and overall health.

ARLD not only affects the liver but also has far-reaching consequences on other organs and systems in the body. Those with ARLD face an increased risk for complications such as developing liver cancer, kidney dysfunction, gastrointestinal bleeding, and compromised immune system functionality. It is imperative to recognize the risk factors ARLD can place on your health and to take proactive measures to mitigate its impact.

Types of Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcohol-related liver disease can be categorized by several distinct conditions ranging in severity, and it’s important to understand the variations. The main types of ARLD include:

  • Alcoholic Fatty Liver (Steatosis) – This is the early and initial stage of alcohol-related liver disease characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. Steatosis is considered the most common alcohol-related liver disorder, and while it can be reversible with lifestyle changes, this condition may progress to more severe forms if alcohol consumption persists.
  • Alcoholic Hepatitis – Heavy, prolonged alcohol abuse can eventually lead to alcoholic hepatitis, which consists of swelling and inflammation of the liver. Mild forms of alcoholic hepatitis may last many years but may be reversed if you stop consuming alcohol. Severe forms of this condition can present significant health risks that lead to life-threatening complications and requires medical attention.
  • Alcoholic Cirrhosis – As the most severe type of alcohol-related liver disease, cirrhosis occurs when nonliving scar tissue begins to replace normal liver tissue. Cirrhosis is a severe condition in which liver scarring from excessive alcohol consumption continues to accumulate and damage the liver, requiring immediate medical intervention.

Symptoms of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

The symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease are complex. In the earliest stages of development, ARLD may not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms to emerge. If you drink heavily, recognizing these symptoms is crucial for early detection and intervention. The common warning signs associated with this condition include:

  • Weakness & Fatigue – Persistent exhaustion and a general feeling of weakness despite adequate rest can often indicate early signs of liver damage.
  • Abdominal Pain & Discomfort – Unexplained abdominal pain, tenderness, and a sense of fullness are considered common symptoms of ARLD.
  • Jaundice – Yellowing of the skin and eyes, also known as jaundice, occurs when the liver fails to process the pigment bilirubin properly.
  • Digestive Issues – Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are frequent gastrointestinal symptoms associated with ARLD.
  • Weight Loss & Loss of Appetite – Unintentional weight loss and a decrease in appetite can occur as ARLD progresses.
  • Bruising & Bleeding Easily – Liver damage can result in decreased production of blood clotting factors, which can make you bruise easily and lead to prolonged bleeding.
  • Swelling & Edema – Fluid retention may cause swelling in the ledges, ankles, and abdomen due to impaired liver function.

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, seeking prompt medical attention is essential to preventing further complications and ensuring timely treatment.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Diagnosis

At Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology, we use a thorough and comprehensive approach to diagnose alcohol-related liver disease. Through an accurate diagnosis, we can ensure precise and develop personalized treatment plans for each patient. There are various diagnostic methods to determine if you suffer from ARLD, such as:

  • A detailed medical history evaluation to understand alcohol consumption patterns and potential risk factors
  • A physical examination to assess liver size, tenderness, and signs of jaundice or fluid retention
  • Blood tests to measure liver enzyme levels, evaluate liver function, and identify markers of liver disease
  • Imaging tests like ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs to view the liver’s condition and detect any abnormalities
  • A liver biopsy to obtain and analyze a piece of tissue from the liver

Treatment Options for Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology offers effective treatment options for alcohol-related liver disease, where our highly skilled physicians and clinical staff work closely with you to learn more about your unique circumstance and develop a custom-tailored treatment plan that caters to your specific needs. Your treatment options may include:

  • Alcohol Cessation – Achieving sobriety is one of the most vital steps in managing alcohol-related liver disease. We can provide you with comprehensive support, counseling, and resources to help you navigate alcohol abstinence and overcome dependency.
  • Supplements & Medications – Depending on your specific symptoms and complications, vitamins and medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort, reduce inflammation, and support liver function.
  • Nutritional Support – Our nutrition experts create tailored dietary plans to help promote liver health and aid in the recovery process.
  • Liver Transplantation – In severe cases of alcoholic cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be considered a life-saving option. This type of surgery replaces the diseased liver with a healthy one from an organ donor.

Get the Treatment You Deserve Today

As the largest GI practice in the Rocky Mountain region, RMG provides the highest level of quality care to patients throughout the Denver area and beyond. With many convenient office and endoscopy center locations, our medical providers possess decades of expertise and are devoted to helping patients suffering from alcohol-related liver disease manage their symptoms and overcome their challenges.

If you or a loved one is struggling with ARLD, we’re here to help. Get the support and individualized care you deserve at Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology. Contact us for more information, or fill out our online form to request an appointment today.

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