Is wine bad for our livers

How much alcohol can a healthy liver tolerate?

How do I recognize fatty liver? How much alcohol is safe for a healthy liver? How is cirrhosis of the liver treated? - The questions of the 30 or so callers who answered the phone call on Thursday, November 17th, revolved around the vital organ, the liver. Christoph Balzer, Head of Gastroenterology at the St. Barbara Hospital, answered personally.

SCHWANDORF As one of the central organs in the human body, the liver takes on several vital tasks: On the one hand, it is responsible for the production of protein, on the other hand, it is essential for the supply of energy. Ultimately, the liver also plays a crucial role in breaking down metabolic end products and drugs. The positive news that Dr. Christoph Balzer was able to convey to many callers that the liver tissue has an extraordinarily high regenerative capacity. This means that normal liver function is possible again even after a severe infection. Even if part of the liver has been surgically removed, the remaining liver tissue can grow back.

Liver disease, although there are no symptoms

The chief gastroenterologist counts among the early signs of liver disease, above all, fatigue, tiredness, reduced performance, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and a tendency to flatulence. The problem, however, is that all of these symptoms may be absent and the liver will still be diseased. He therefore recommends that the blood and liver values ​​be checked by the family doctor at regular intervals. On the other hand, reddening of the palms of the hands, blood vessel markings especially in the décolleté or yellowing of the skin and eyes indicate liver cirrhosis in the late stage. Water retention, especially in the abdominal area (visually comparable to the belly of a pregnant woman), protruding veins or vomiting of blood are typical of a very advanced liver disease.

In addition to the classic liver values, which indicate inflammation of the liver (transaminases), there are, according to chief physician Dr. Balzer other laboratory parameters such as proteins or blood coagulation values ​​that allow conclusions to be drawn about the condition of the liver. The question of whether a fatty liver is present can be answered indirectly via blood lipids, blood sugar parameters or the signs of chronic alcohol consumption. This diagnosis is then confirmed with the help of ultrasound diagnostics. Ultimately, a liver biopsy, i.e. the removal of liver tissue, provides information about the extent of the liver disease and its cause.

Alcoholic and the non-alcoholicFatty liver

The most common liver disease is fatty liver. Dr. Balzer differentiates between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms, which can be caused by obesity, diabetes or certain medications. Too much alcohol consumption initially leads to increased fat storage in the liver, which can develop from inflammatory changes to cirrhosis of the liver. In women, an alcohol consumption of around ten grams of alcohol per day (0.25 liters of beer or one eighth liter of wine) is harmless to a healthy liver. Men can drink up to 20 grams of alcohol per day if their liver function is regulated. While a hepatitis A virus disease (travel hepatitis) always heals and rarely leads to acute liver failure, hepatitis B and C virus diseases can be chronic in up to five percent and 50 to 90 percent of all cases, respectively. You can protect yourself against hepatitis A by paying attention to hygiene when traveling and only eating cooked or peeled food. A vaccination is also offered. Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood or body fluid exchanges. A vaccination can also protect against this. In contrast, no vaccine is currently available for hepatitis C.

Tip: healthy and balanced diet

If you want to protect yourself from liver disease, Dr. Christoph Balzer to pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet, to lose excess weight, to exercise regularly, to drink little alcohol and to avoid liver toxins such as drugs. He recommends vaccination against hepatitis A and B as well as preventive examinations, especially if the liver is previously damaged. However, if cirrhosis of the liver does occur, varicose veins in the esophagus and stomach can be obliterated, or water in the abdomen can be excreted by diuretic drugs. Alternatively, the ascites can be drained through a puncture or a stent inserted into the liver. Finally, there is the possibility of a liver transplant - which is currently not possible in all cases due to the insufficient number of donor organs.