Alcoholic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by drinking alcohol.
Alcoholic hepatitis is most likely to occur in people who drink heavily over many years. However, the relationship between drinking and alcoholic hepatitis is complex. Not all heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, and the disease can occur in people who drink only moderately.
If you're diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, you must stop drinking alcohol. People who continue to drink alcohol face a high risk of serious liver damage and death.
The most common sign of alcoholic hepatitis is yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
Other signs and symptoms include:
Just about everyone who has alcoholic hepatitis is malnourished. Drinking large amounts of alcohol suppresses the appetite, and heavy drinkers get most of their calories in the form of alcohol.
Signs and symptoms of severe alcoholic hepatitis include:
Alcoholic hepatitis is a serious disease. Up to 30 to 40 percent of people with severe alcoholic hepatitis can die within one month.
See your doctor if:
Alcoholic hepatitis develops when the alcohol that you drink damages your liver. Just how alcohol damages the liver â and why it does so only in some heavy drinkers â isn't clear.
It is known that:
Other factors that can contribute to alcoholic hepatitis include:
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about your history of alcohol consumption. It is important to be honest in describing your drinking habits. Your doctor might ask to interview family members about your drinking.
To test for liver disease, your doctor might recommend:
Complications of alcoholic hepatitis include:
You might reduce your risk of alcoholic hepatitis if you:
The major risk factor for alcoholic hepatitis is the amount of alcohol you consume. The amount of alcohol intake that puts a person at risk of alcoholic hepatitis isn't known. But most people with the condition have a history of drinking more than 3.4 ounces (100 grams) â equivalent to seven glasses of wine, seven beers or seven shots of spirits â daily for at least 20 years.
Other risk factors include: