The liver is the second most complex organ in the human body. It's also one that's vulnerable to serious damage from alcohol use.
What Does the Liver Do?
Your liver performs several vital functions, including:
- Filtering toxins from your blood
- Aiding the digestion of food
- Regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Helping to fight infection and disease
Each time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die. The good news is, the liver is very resilient. It continually develops new cells, essentially regenerating. But alcohol use, either in high doses or over many years, can reduce the liver's ability to repair itself. Drinking too much can result in serious and permanent damage to your liver.
Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
Experts refer to liver damage caused by drinking as alcohol-related liver disease or ARLD. There are three main stages of ARLD, marked by a range of symptoms and severity. While each is distinct, they sometimes can overlap.