Alcoholic liver disease in medical practice
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Katedra i Klinika Chorób Wewnętrznych, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Lublinie
Oddział Internistyczno-Kardiologiczny, Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej w Parczewie
Katedra i Zakład Medycyny Rodzinnej, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Lublinie
Med Og Nauk Zdr. 2011;17(3):148-154
Despite a constant declining tendency, alcohol consumption still remains an important health problem. Alcohol is con- sidered to be the most frequent cause of liver disorders worldwide. It is almost entirely metabolized in the liver, which makes this organ especially sensitive to its toxic effect. The metabolites of ethyl alcohol, especially acetaldehyde, damage the liver pulp not only directly, but also indirectly by initiating a series of reactions changing hepatocytes metabolism. The consequence of the above is the development of alcoholic liver disease (ALD), the subsequent stages of which are alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. It remains clear because only a minority of alcohol abusers develop severe liver pathology. A great role in the etiopathogenesis of ALD is ascribed to as yet poorly recognized genetic and immune factors. The studies conducted also confirm the considerable effect of the amount of alcohol consumed, age, gender, nutritional status and concomitant hepatitis C infection. The article presents contemporary concepts concerning the effect of alcohol on the liver and the development of alcoholic liver disease. Diagnostics and procedures at various stages of the disease are discussed, with the consideration of clinical situations. The role of alcohol abstinence is emphasized as a basic treatment, which considerably improves the prognosis at each stage of the disease.

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