Here’s what a liver looks like when years of heavy drinking leads to cirrhosis

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Not for the faint hearted.

By Melissa Matthews

It’s well known that drinking alcohol can take a toll on your waistline, heart health, and liver, but actually seeing the damage it wreaks inside your body might make you want to steer clear of happy hour.

In a recently-surfaced clip from the show Lifechangers, Dr. Drew Pinsky takes a hands-on approach to warning viewers how excessive drinking can damage their livers.

In the 2011 video, Dr. Drew compares a healthy liver to one with cirrhosis to warn the twin sisters who appeared on his show how heavy drinking could harm them. The healthy liver is smooth, reddish brown, and evenly coloured, while the liver with cirrhosis is grey, bumpy, and full of scars.

 

“The liver is full of scar, and it’s attempting to regenerate itself — and as it regenerates, it comes up against scar and forms more scar,” he explains of the damaged organ.

Dr. Drew says the liver likely came from someone who died of cirrhosis, adding that once your liver doesn’t function properly, the rest of your body begins to fail, too.

“Your immune system doesn’t work normally,” he says. “Blood backs up behind the liver, and you actually build varicose veins in your oesophagus. They rupture and you can bleed to death in minutes.”

Cirrhosis occurs when your liver is permanently injured and scarred from long term damage due to alcohol abuse, hepatitis or obesity. Although cases vary, typically cirrhosis occurs after 10 years of heavy drinking. Damaged can not be reversed, but abstaining from alcohol can prevent additional impairment.

 

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