May 19, 2023 | By Haley Wilson | Liver, Liver Disease | Alcohol-related Liver Disease, Fibroscan, liver health, Women's Liver Health
May is Women’s Health Awareness Month, and it’s more important than ever to address the alarming rise of alcohol-related liver disease in young women. Let’s work together to empower women to make informed decisions regarding their liver health. Read our latest blog, discussing the hidden truth of alcohol-related liver disease in women!
Liver disease is a critical health condition that affects the well-being of millions of people worldwide. There are two types of liver diseases: alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Alcohol-related liver disease results from the consumption of alcohol and is prevalent among chronic heavy drinkers. In contrast, non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) is often associated with people who have obesity, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes.
Although both types of liver diseases share the same symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, and abdominal pain, their causes, and risk factors differ. As healthcare providers, we emphasize the importance of timely diagnosis and proper management to prevent irreversible damage. Therefore, you should seek medical attention if you experience any liver disease symptoms.
In recent years, a troubling trend that requires attention is the increasing prevalence of alcohol-related liver disease in young women, especially between the ages of 25-34. Several factors can contribute to the widespread presence of this disease in women. For example, women are notably more affected by alcohol intake than men. What makes women more susceptible is the fact that their bodies respond differently to alcohol. Women have less water in their bodies than men, meaning they end up with higher blood alcohol concentrations even if they drink the same amount. Additionally, hormones in women can affect the liver. Estrogen, for example, affects how quickly a woman’s body metabolizes alcohol leading to an even higher blood alcohol concentration. These biological differences in metabolism and body composition often lead alcohol to accumulate in the liver, thus increasing the risk of liver disease.
As of late, many medical professionals have been concerned with the increasing number of alcohol-related liver disease cases in young women. Despite the common misconception that liver disease only affects heavy drinkers or those with a long history of alcohol abuse, the reality is that even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage over time. The rise in liver disease cases among young women is thought to be linked to changes in social norms and cultural expectations, such as the increasing acceptance of binge drinking and the portrayal of alcohol as a necessary component of socializing and relaxation. It’s important for individuals to understand the potential risks of alcohol consumption and aim to consider moderation or abstention as a preventative measure.
For those who are at risk of developing liver disease, the importance of early detection cannot be overstated. While liver disease is often asymptomatic in its early stages, fibroscan testing is a non-invasive liver scan that can help identify potential problems before more serious complications arise.
Arizona Liver Health prioritizes your health today, so you don’t have to worry tomorrow! Visit our website to schedule your FREE fibroscan today and be good to the liver that’s good to you.