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Liver Diseases Resulting from Alcohol

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Liver disease resulting from alcohol affects more than two million Americans and is one of the primary causes of illness and death. The liver frees the body of harmful substances, such as alcohol. While the liver breaks down alcohol, it produces toxins that can be even more dangerous than the alcohol consumed (“Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol's Impact Your Health” 13). “These by-products damage liver cells, promote inflammation, and weaken the body’s natural defenses. Eventually, these problems can disrupt the body’s metabolism and impair the function of other organs” (“Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol's Impact Your Health” 13). A condition called steatosis is the result of fat build up in the liver and is the earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease. This condition causes the liver difficulty breaking down alcohol, potentially resulting in alcoholic hepatitis. Fibrosis of the liver, which is also related to heavy drinking, causes scar tissue to build up in the liver. The alcohol alters chemicals that the liver needs to break down this scar tissue, causing liver dysfunctions. If one does not refrain from drinking during the condition of fibrosis, the scar tissue can build up and create another condition, called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is deterioration of the liver resulting from heavy scarring, causing the liver to not be able to function properly. If cirrhosis becomes severe, a liver transplant may be the only solution (“Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol's Impact Your Health” 14). It is difficult to calculate when a person would develop cirrhosis, because an alcoholic could never develop the disease, but someone who social drinks could. It is also unknown why cirrhosis is more prevalent in women (...

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... assaulted by classmates while drinking, 100,000 students are victims of sexual assaults and rapes involving alcohol (Roleff 44). (FAS) Although some experts believe drinking small amounts of alcohol is good for the body, the negative effects far outweigh the positives. Based on the evidence, alcohol should be an illegal drug.

Works Cited

“Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol's Impact Your Health.” Bethesda, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2010. Print.

Freeman, David. "Health Risks of Alcohol: 12 Health Problems Associated with

Chronic Heavy Drinking." WebMD. WebMD, 2009. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Roleff, Tamara L. Alcoholism. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven, 2010. Print.

Walker, Ida. Alcohol Addiction: Not Worth the Buzz. Philadelphia: Mason Crest, 2008. Print.
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