Liver Disease and Alchol Liver Disease and Alchol
National Institute of Environmental Health Science

Question: How does alcohol affect the liver?

Answer: Alcohol is a toxic chemical that is mostly metabolized by the liver. When the liver metabolizes large quantities of alcohol over a period of time, the cells of the liver can change. For example, the cells may swell, scar, or die. These cellular changes can lead to a variety of liver problems, ranging from an enlarged, fatty liver to cirrhosis, accompanied by liver failure. The degree of liver damage generally correlates to the quantity and duration of alcohol consumption.

After repeated toxic insults from alcohol, the liver may no longer function properly. It may have a difficult time producing materials the body needs to be healthy, such as blood clotting factors, thus making an individual more susceptible to infections and diseases.