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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The A-Files, Alcohol A-Z for Alcohol Awareness Month: Quitting protects the liver


Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTubeFacebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode Q is on quitting to protect the liver. The liver is a resilient, tough toxin eradicating giant, but it will let you know when it's had enough punishment. 

Here are four tells of alcohol-related liver damage.
1) Waste elimination issues. Bloody or black stool is a sign you've damaged something. Dark urine, light-colored diarrhea are more common. They're caused by your body dumping bile, which it over produces to combat the toxin. The yellow is from bilirubin, a pigment in the bile. Urine will be dark when you're dehydrated. Consistently dark urine is a liver warning sign.
2) Bilirubin makes you appear jaundiced, which is a yellowing of tissues. The first place you'll notice this is the whites of the eyes.
3) A swollen and/or sensitive abdomen is a telling sign you're pretty far down the path on alcohol-related liver damage. The liver is located mostly behind the ribcage, and when it swells in size it will force your other organs down to the softer belly.
4) If you tire easily or feel fatigued, the body is working overtime and channeling energy to remove alcohol and its toxic byproduct just to survive. This is the most common symptom, and most overlooked one.

Cirrhosis is what people commonly think of with drinking and liver damage, but only one in 10 alcoholics develops cirrhosis. It's not the only alcohol problem. A fatty liver occurs when alcohol consumption disrupts how the body chooses its fuel. Cells normally use fat to produce energy. As acetaldehyde breaks down in the body it releases hydrogen, which mitochondria use before fat as fuel. The unused fat then accumulates around the liver, choking it. Alcoholic hepatitis is a third type of liver injury.

Liver trouble is not just a problem for those with the disease of alcoholism. Binges and so-called 'social drinking' also damage the liver. The liver is the main metabolic site in the body, so it has a 'domino effect' on many organs, especially during a bender. "Binge-induced liver injury impacts other organs as well, a view rather poorly appreciated by the public,” according to authors of a 2013 study appearing in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Those other organs? Can you think of one that isn't important?
The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/AFiles

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Another interview is on Alcohol Awareness Syndicated radio program Savvy Central Radio did this interview, too. Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today. Stevens also is the public relations officer with AddictedMinds.com