The liver and alcohol

The Effects of Alcohol on the Liver

Alcohol is one of the most widely used substances among America’s adult and teen populations, posing substantial health and safety risks. Even though most know the adverse effects of alcohol, many tend to do so without fully recognizing the health risks of consuming alcohol excessively. The liver is one of the essential organs in the body, and when it comes to alcohol, it can have devastating effects. The Metabolization of Alcohol On average, it takes the body about an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. Every additional drink increased that time frame. The more a person drinks, the longer it takes to process alcohol. That’s because the liver can only process so much at a time. When someone drinks too much, the alcohol left unprocessed by the liver circulates through the bloodstream and starts affecting the heart and brain. This is how people become intoxicated. Two liver enzymes begin to break apart the alcohol molecule so it the body can eventually eliminate them. Alcohol’s Destruction One of those enzymes, ADH, helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is only in the body for a short time, but it is highly toxic and a known carcinogen. Some small amounts of alcohol are also eliminated from the body by forming fatty acid compounds. These compounds can damage the liver and pancreas. The toxic effects of acetaldehyde have been linked to the development of cancers of the: Mouth Throat Upper respiratory tract Liver Colon Breasts Chronic alcohol abuse (drinking 4 or 5 drinks in a row regularly) also destroys liver cells, which progress from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation) to cirrhosis (scarring). However, heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic cirrhosis without first developing hepatitis. Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol? While there is no safe amount of alcohol you can consume, you can reduce your risk of liver damage by drinking less. Individuals can drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less for women. Does the health of your liver concern you? Arizona Liver Health offers a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease. To learn more, call (480) 470-4000 or request an appointment online today! Sources:

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Liver Disease in Women

March is Women’s History Month, and it commemorates women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” It is a tribute to the countless ways women of all cultures provide healing and hope now and throughout history. In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to share how liver disease impacts women and how we can help prioritize your liver health. Common Types of Liver Disease Liver disease is a term that encompasses a variety of conditions that affect the functioning of the liver. However, there are more than 100 types, most progress in the same way. In the U.S., fatty liver diseases, both alcohol and non-alcohol-related, are most common. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and Alcohol-related fatty liver disease (ALD) occurs when the liver accumulates an unhealthy amount of fat. Chronic excessive alcohol consumption causes ALD. Obesity, insulin resistance, and unhealthy lifestyles are risk factors for NAFLD. Both conditions trigger chronic inflammation of the liver and progressively damage it over several years without noticeable symptoms. As a result, scarring of the liver ensues. Without treatment, the damage to the liver becomes severe and can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. How Liver Disease Affects Women Hormonal changes and genetic makeup not only differentiate women from men, but they also influence: Their response to medications and other things they consume How diseases develop and progress Why conditions are more prevalent in women versus men These influences affect both forms of fatty liver disease in women by making them more susceptible to it. For example, women are more sensitive to drug or alcohol-related liver disease than men. Because females are smaller on average and have more body fat, both can cause them to metabolize drugs and alcohol at a slower rate than men. As a result, they are more sensitive to drug or alcohol-related liver disease and NAFLD. Checking Your Liver Health Can Change Everything In 1966, James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome wrote It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World. The lyrics say, “This is a man’s world,…. But it wouldn’t be nothing,… without a woman or a girl.” To continue making history, women must also advocate and prioritize their health. Fatty liver disease is on the rise in epidemic proportions. Arizona Liver Health offers a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease. The fibroscan is a painless, quick procedure that checks the health of your liver. Schedule your appointment today! Call us at (480) 470-4000 or submit a request through our website. Other Source:

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Hepatic Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) can develop when your liver can no longer remove toxic substances from your blood. The toxins build up and can travel through your body until they eventually reach your brain. This causes mental and physical symptoms of HE. Why Does HE Develop? Hepatic encephalopathy is a nervous system disorder brought on by severe liver disease. When the liver doesn’t work properly, toxins build up in the blood.  HE is a complication of cirrhosis– a severe form of liver disease. Common types of chronic liver disease can lead to liver scarring or even liver failure. These include: Alcohol-related liver disease Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or too much fat in liver cells Inflammation of the liver (such as hepatitis A, B, or C) Liver cancer Living with untreated liver disease for a long time can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. As cirrhosis becomes worse, the liver has less healthy tissue. A healthy liver is essential in helping your body process food and nutrients into energy. It is also vital for removing harmful toxins. Over time, the liver becomes so damaged, it can no longer remove toxins from the blood. HE symptoms are broken down into four grades of severity: Grade 1: Lack of awareness Euphoria or anxiety Shortened attention span Difficulty with addition or subtraction Altered sleep patterns Grade 2: Lack of energy or interest Confused sense of date and time Obvious personality change Inappropriate behavior Uncoordinated movements Tremor or flapping of the wrists Grade 3: Sleepiness or stupor Responds to stimuli Confused sense of place, where one is Extreme disorientation Grade 4: Complete unresponsiveness (hepatic coma) Treatments Treatments can rid the body of toxins and reverse this temporary condition. These are aimed at lowering the level of ammonia and other toxins in your blood. These toxins initially arise in your gastrointestinal or GI system. Hence, therapies are focused on your gut to eliminate or reduce the production of toxins. Arizona Liver Health conducts free fibroscans that can detect liver diseases, such as NAFLD and NASH. A fibroscan done early enough can help you avoid complications from untreated liver disease such as HE. Once results are ready, our medical staff will help you determine if additional steps are needed. If your results indicate abnormal liver function, our team will discuss enrolling studies for the liver that may be an option. Schedule your FREE fibroscan today! Request an appointment here or call us at (480) 470-4000. Sources:

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October is Liver Awareness Month

Liver Awareness Month

The liver is one of the most vital organs in our bodies. It is impossible to survive without the life-sustaining functions it provides. Understandably, how well we take care of our liver impacts its ability to function properly. National Liver Awareness Month is an annual designation occurring in October to create awareness around liver health. By giving it the attention it deserves, we can stay healthy for as long as possible. Why the Liver is Important The liver is the second largest organ in your body and is located right under your rib cage on your right side. Your liver processes what you consume and breaks it down into nutrients your body uses. It also: Cleans your blood of toxins Gives you energy Produces bile for digestion Causes of Liver Disease There are over 100 different diseases that can damage the liver. Nevertheless, most damage the liver in similar ways and follow the same progression. The common causes of liver disease include: Viruses Genetics Autoimmune disease Excessive abuse of alcohol Unhealthy diet and obesity Medication side effects, illegal drugs, or toxic chemicals National Liver Awareness Month Liver disease affects from 50 million to 100 million individuals globally. Numerous diseases pose an increasing concern, such as liver cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and hepatitis. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America. Despite the growing prevalence, there is hope. With early detection and treatment, the progression can be stopped or reversed. Those at risk of developing liver disease can also potentially prevent its onset.  Start taking care of your liver today. You can celebrate National Liver Awareness Month by taking some simple steps towards liver health, such as: Work towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Eat healthier by avoiding high-calorie meals, refined carbohydrates like white bread/enriched flour, and eat a good amount of fiber. Exercise regularly up to 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. Use alcohol responsibly. Avoid using drugs. Follow prescribed directions on all your medications. Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. Are you concerned about your risk of liver disease? Arizona Liver Health can help! We offer FREE liver scans using fibroscan technology for adults at risk of developing liver disease. A fibroscan is a quick, painless way to determine liver health. Individuals whose results indicate the presence of liver disease will also have an option to learn more about our enrolling liver research studies. Schedule your appointment today! Call us at (480) 470-4000, or visit our website for more details and online request form. Sources:

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Can you stop cirrhosis before it occurs?

Catch Cirrhosis from The Start

Cirrhosis of the liver is a progressive disease, developing slowly over many years. If allowed to continue, the buildup of scar tissue can eventually stop liver function. Because of the gradual decline, liver cirrhosis often goes undetected and unnoticed. You can potentially catch cirrhosis from the start by knowing the signs and your risk for liver disease. The Silent Organ The liver is known as a silent organ because when symptoms of liver disease become apparent, it is typically in the later stages of the disease. If you’re at increased risk of liver disease, you can work with your doctor for annual screenings and lifestyle changes to protect your liver. Risk factors include: Chronic alcohol abuse Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, C, and D) Fat accumulating in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) Being overweight Insulin resistance Family history Signs of Cirrhosis Cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions. Each time your liver is injured, it tries to repair itself. This process causes the formation of scar tissue. As cirrhosis progresses, more scar tissue forms, eventually making it difficult for the liver to function (decompensated cirrhosis). While the damage done by cirrhosis generally can’t be undone, if diagnosed early and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and, rarely, reversed. As scar tissue accumulates, the ability of the liver to function properly is affected. The following signs and symptoms may occur: Blood capillaries become visible on the skin on the upper abdomen. Fatigue Insomnia Itchy skin Loss of appetite Weight loss Nausea Pain or tenderness in the area where the liver is located Red or blotchy palms Weakness If you’re looking to get your liver health back on track, Arizona Liver Health can help. After all, liver health is in our name. We offer FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease to test for liver fat and fibrosis, which may lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. We also provide an opportunity to participate in one of our enrolling clinical trials to help advance the treatment of liver diseases for those with liver disease. To learn more, call us at 480-470-4000, or visit us online today! Sources:    

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Can your liver benefit from a fibroscan?

Fibroscan: Can Your Liver Benefit from One?

When it comes to detecting and identifying the severity of liver disease, the gold standard is typically a liver biopsy. Newer technological advances have paved the way for other non-invasive options such as the fibroscan. It comes without any risks. It’s also cheaper, quicker, and more accurate. If you are at risk for or already have liver disease, your overall health depends on early detection and regular monitoring. Both are just some of the reasons your liver can benefit from fibroscan technology. Time-Tested, Trusted Technology. For decades, ultrasound technology has enabled us to see a growing baby in the womb and many other medical uses. Fibroscan technology harnesses this technology to measure the stiffness of the liver. As the sound waves pass through the liver, the device measures how fast they go. The faster they move, through it, the greater the degree of fibrosis or stiffness. There are over 100 types of liver disease. However, most will follow the same path of progressive damage. Chronic inflammation as the body repeatedly attempts to heal the liver ironically ends up doing the exact opposite. In a healthy liver, the body produces and transports collagen to repair the damage. It does this by surrounding healthy tissue and strengthening it. With liver disease, more collagen is sent than needed. It builds up between liver cells, binding with other proteins forming scar tissue or fibrosis. The scarring can reduce or stop blood flow, starving and killing healthy cells. More scarring occurs, eventually replacing more and more healthy cells with non-function performing scar tissue. Early Detection, Progression Monitoring, Lifesaving.  The liver is a regenerative organ and can heal itself even well into the later stages of liver disease. Ideally, those at risk of developing liver disease would work with their doctor to proactively monitor their liver health. By measuring the degree of stiffness, fibroscan technology can detect the presence of liver issues. Similarly, it is an essential monitoring tool for managing disease progression, stagnation, and regression. There isn’t a limit to the number of times your provider can perform a fibroscan. In turn, this allows for real-time results measuring how well lifestyle modifications and other therapies are working. The best part is that along with typical lab tests, fibroscan technology continues reducing the need for liver biopsies. Ultimately, it is improving, prolonging, and easing the management of the lives of liver disease patients. Your liver really can benefit from a fibroscan! Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of developing liver disease. Based on the exam results, you may be eligible to participate in currently enrolling research studies evaluating potential new options for liver diseases like NASH. Take control of your liver health today! Schedule your free screen by calling (480) 470-4000 or requesting an appointment online. Sources:

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How well do you know your liver?

All You Need to Know About Your Liver

October is National Liver Cancer Awareness Month. Liver cancer is the 13th most commonly diagnosed cancer in America and one of the deadliest. Liver cancer is often diagnosed late and difficult to treat. The goal is to create awareness about the risk factors of liver disease for earlier intervention. Your liver is an amazing organ, and the health of it is vital to sustaining life. If you aren’t sure about your liver disease risk, don’t fret because we have put together all you need to know about the liver and its risks. Multitasker Extraordinaire  If you think you’re pretty good at multitasking, you don’t have anything on the liver. Maxing out around 500 performing functions, the liver is multitasking on steroids. The liver cells filter everything that enters the body, determining which nutrients get stored, processed, eliminated, or sent back into the blood. The liver has three primary functions: It breaks down and converts substances. Converts carbs into energy and stores the excess, which helps keep the body’s metabolism energy balanced. Removes toxins from the bloodstream, which makes them less harmful. The liver also stores minerals such as copper and iron and vitamins to release when the body needs it. It is a manufacturer of bile, which helps in the breaking down and absorption of fats. Additionally, the liver is a significant player in our immune function, blood clotting, and so many others. Did You Know? The liver is the largest solid organ in the body, and no matter the size, every vertebrate has one. Here are some other liver facts you may not know! The liver can regenerate itself! 75% could be removed, and the remaining 25% would regenerate in only about two weeks! Adult male livers typically weight 3.9 pounds on average while females weight about 2.8. The liver holds about 10% of the entire blood volume in the body. Your liver is bigger than your brain! It consists of 96% water. Powerful, but not Indestructible Despite being a fantastic organ, the liver can still become compromised. Family history, obesity, alcohol abuse, type 2 diabetes, and intravenous drug use all raise your risk of developing liver disease. If you are at risk, there’s no time like the present to get your FREE fibroscan here at Arizona Liver Heath! A fibroscan is a quick, painless, non-invasive scan that can assess liver health since many liver disease symptoms aren’t noticeable at first. A physician will discuss your results and let you know your options are moving forward. If your fibroscan is abnormal, you will be presented an opportunity to take part in research studies looking into potential new options for treating NAFLD or NASH. To find out more, call (480) 470-4000 or visit our website. References:

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Fibroscan Fatty Liver

Benefits of a Fibroscan

Your liver performs over 500 vital functions in your body. If it is not functioning the way it should, your health could take a turn for the worse. If you are at risk of liver disease, checking your liver’s health is extremely important to avoid irreversible damage.

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