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The liver is a large organ that lies up under the ribs on the right side of the abdomen (belly). It helps filter waste from the body. It also makes bile to help digest food, and stores sugar that the body uses for energy.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that leads to liver cell damage and cell death.
The following are the most common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis:
Alcoholic hepatitis usually develops over time with continued drinking. But severe alcoholic hepatitis can develop suddenly and quickly lead to liver failure and death.
The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always see a doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to complete medical history and physical exam, other tests may include:
The goal of treatment is to restore some or all normal functioning to the liver.
It is necessary to completely stop drinking alcohol . This may require an alcohol treatment program. Sometimes diet changes are recommended, too. Scarring of the liver is permanent, but the liver is often able to repair some of the damage caused by alcohol so you can live a normal life.
You may be admitted to the hospital or treated on an outpatient basis. There is no medication to cure alcoholic hepatitis. Treatment involves reducing the symptoms and halting the progression of the disease.
Many people with alcoholic hepatitis are infected with the hepatitis C virus, and many have gallstones. They are also at increased risk for liver cancer.
If you continue to drink alcohol, the liver will continue to be damaged and, over time, cirrhosis will develop.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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