Since 2006, the rates of alcohol-related liver diseases (ARLD) in America have been on the rise. More Americans than ever are drinking heavily, and mortality rates have risen at the same time. Data published in a recent study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that deaths from ARLD increased every year from 1999 through 2017, outpacing other developed countries.
The study showed the increase of ARLD-related deaths are particularly prominent among Native Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and middle-aged adults. Research indicates this is a public health crisis, particularly among Native American women. The only group unaffected by the increasing ARLD death rates were non-Hispanic black men. Those who live in rural areas are also at higher risk of ARLD.
What Causes ARLD?
ARLD is caused by years of excessive drinking, causing liver inflammation, swelling, and scarring. The rate of ARLD in America is so prevalent that about 10 to 15% of Americans who drink heavily will develop ARLD. Heavy drinking is defined as about 8 alcoholic beverages/units per week for women, and 15 for men, or more than 1 drink per day for women and more than 2 for men.
ARLD is a serious concern because liver damage is irreversible, except in its earliest stages. Also, in most people, ARLD symptoms are not apparent until the disease is quite advanced and the liver damage cannot be undone. The other unfortunate fact is many heavy drinkers also have co-occurring addictions and mental health problems.
There are several types and stages of ARLD, each with different symptoms, including:
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the first stage of ARLD, and is caused by fat accumulation around the liver. This can be cured by abstaining from alcohol, but it often progresses with continued alcohol abuse.
- Acute alcoholic hepatitis causes liver inflammation, and treatment may reverse the damage if the damage is not severe. More severe cases may progress to alcoholic cirrhosis.
- Alcoholic cirrhosis is the latest stage of liver failure when excessive liver scarring is severe. This almost invariably leads to liver failure if the individual doesn’t stop drinking, and liver failure is fatal without a liver transplant.
Decision Point Center Takes a Holistic Approach to Treat Alcoholism
At Decision Point Center, our team offers a tailored program to treat alcohol addiction. We use effective, proven techniques to help our patients overcome alcoholism and regain a sense of self. Decision Point Center offers personalized solutions designed to treat both physical addictions, and our team helps patients with their emotional recovery. You won’t be alone, either. Our team will guide you throughout the process so you can be free of alcohol addiction and go on to lead a more fulfilling life.
At Decision Point Center, we want to help you enjoy a better quality of life so you can avoid becoming a statistic. Call us today at (844) 292-5010