ZocdocAnswersIf you are a social drinker will you end up with liver problems?

Question

If you are a social drinker will you end up with liver problems?

I like to drink but I'm not an alcoholic or anything. I drink maybe 4 days a week. Does this mean that I will end up with liver problems? How much do you have to drink to do permanent damage to your liver?

Answer

Alcohol can have very serious consequences on your body. Alcohol in excess can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels and quite often the liver. The amount of alcohol needed to damage the body varies among people. I would recommend that you talk to your primary care doctor to have your alcohol intake and liver evaluated. He or she can provide you more guidance. Alcohol causes inflammation in the liver. As for how much alcohol is required, it varies greatly. It really depends on how your body metabolizes the alochol. It also depends on if your liver has had any other injury (like an infection or from diabetes or other drugs). If your liver starts weak, than even a small amount of alcohol can hurt it. In addition, how you drink the alcohol may make a difference. Binge drinking many drinks at once is likely more damaging than the same amount spread over a week. Your doctor can order blood tests to determine if your liver is inflammed with the current amount of alcohol intake. If chronically inflammed, your liver can stop functioning which is obviously life threatening. Keep in mind your body has other organs that alcohol can damage. Your heart and brain health is also important. Please see your doctor to discuss this important issue. Good luck!

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