ALD - Overworking Your Liver
Alcohol is a toxin that can damage liver cells, and alcoholic liver disease (ALD) - particularly cirrhosis (a scarred liver) - is one of the leading causes of alcohol-related death.
Not everyone who drinks heavily will develop ALD. Other factors besides alcohol also influence development of the disease, including demographic, biological, and environmental factors. Nevertheless, stopping drinking can help to alleviate or even reverse ALD, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Treatment for ALD includes making lifestyle changes, such as stopping or decreasing alcohol use, stopping smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Health care providers may prescribe medications, such as pentoxifyline or prednisone in cases of severe alcoholic hepatitis, but the effectiveness of these treatments is uncertain. For patients with severe ALD who have been abstinent for about six moths, transplantation may be life saving.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Mom's Drinks
Attack Baby's Liver
A pregnant mom's alcoholic intake can not be processed by the baby's undeveloped liver interfering with it's oxygen supply and nutrition resulting in serious damage to a number of organs and the brain.
During pregnancy an unborn baby is nourished through the mother's placenta. At any time during the pregnancy, when the mother drinks alcohol, it will enter the bloodstream and pass freely through the placenta to the developing baby. As a consequence, when the mother has alcohol in her bloodstream, there also will be more alcohol in the baby's bloodstream. The more the mother drinks while pregnant, the more alcohol will enter the baby. As the baby's liver is still developing, it does not work as quickly as the mother's liver in breaking down the alcohol. Therefore, alcohol levels in the baby's blood are higher than in the mother and it stays in the unborn baby's body longer.
Both alcohol and its major breakdown product, acetaldehyde, cross the placenta and can interfere with the baby's oxygen supply and and nutrition, damaging a number of organs and the brain. The adverse effects of alcohol on the baby may include mental retardation, heart defects, delayed physical growth, deformities, impaired hearing or vision, an unusual facial appearance, learning disorders, and abnormal behavior, such as a short attention span and hyperactivity. No safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy is known.
Because early in pregnancy there may be no signs or symptoms of the pregnancy, it is important to avoid alcohol if you are planning to become pregnancy or think you might be pregnant.
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