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A shocking video has revealed exactly how drinking alcohol can wreck your liver – and leave you at risk of death.
In the clip, twin sisters are shown a healthy liver and one of someone who died of cirrhosis – scarring of the organ, which can be fatal.
The healthy liver looks smooth and a rich reddish-brown colour – but the diseased organs appears rough and grey in comparison and has dark spots of scarring.
Aired on TV show Dr Drew’s Lifechangers in the US, gasps from the crowd can be heard when the livers are revealed. One of the twins even appears close to tears.
It was hoped the revelation would convince the twins to cut down on boozing. The pair admitted to drinking far too much – a major cause of cirrhosis.
Celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky, who hosts the show, explains to the women and the audience how the diseased liver is ‘full of scar’ and is ‘a mess’.
In the clip, Dr Pinsky shows a healthy liver (left) and one of someone who died of cirrhosis (right) – scarring of the organ, which can be fatal
In the full video, Dr Pinsky says: ‘Essentially every woman I’ve treated who drinks like either of you do has some degree of alcoholic liver disease.
‘I can’t say that you have cirrhosis – not everybody gets cirrhosis, but I worry that you are at risk for cirrhosis.
‘This is a mess.’
Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver becomes heavily scarred after sustaining long term damage.
Once someone has cirrhosis, which is incurable, their liver will no longer work properly and can eventually fail, which could be fatal if they can’t get a transplant.
Dr Pinsky says women are five times more likely than men to develop cirrhosis from drinking because their stomach lacks an enzyme needed to break down the alcohol.
He then explains in gruesome detail how the disease can kill you, and points out how the liver is covered with scar tissue as it tries to repair itself from alcohol damage.
‘This is probably somebody who died of cirrhosis,’ Dr Pinsky says, while holding the rubbery-looking cirrhotic liver in the video from 2011.
Dr Drew Pinsky explains to the twins and the studio audience – who gasped when the diseased liver was revealed – how drinking too much alcohol can kill you
The twins, who were on the show Lifechangers because of their heavy drinking ways, look horrified by the comparison
WHAT IS CIRRHOSIS?
Cirrhosis is a condition in which heavy scarring in the liver causes it to stop working properly.
It can be caused by heavy alcohol drinking, hepatitis, and obesity.
Alcohol-related cirrhosis usually develops after ten or more years of drinking.
Symptoms depend on the condition’s severity, but can include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting blood, or dark, tar-like faeces.
Cirrhosis cannot be cured, but symptoms can be managed and in life-threatening cases liver transplants are possible.
Source: NHS Choices
‘What happens is that not only are you unable to take toxins out of your system, it can affect your brain – you can become what’s called encephalopathic [brain damaged].
‘Your immune system doesn’t work normally, blood backs up behind the liver and you actually develop varicose veins in your oesophagus.
‘They rupture and you can bleed to death in minutes.’
Dr Drew’s Lifechangers is a daytime TV show aired in the US in which Dr Pinsky helps people with life problems.
It generally takes years of chronic drinking for alcohol to cause so much damage that a person’s life is in danger because of cirrhosis.
The condition can also be caused by hepatitis C and a severe form of liver disease caused by obesity.
To minimise liver damage people should limit their alcohol intake – the NHS recommend no more than 14 units per week and maintain a healthy weight.
A recent study also suggested that eating a Mediterranean diet could have health benefits for your liver.
Research from Virginia Commonwealth University found that adopting a diet, loaded with fruit and veg, whole grains, olive oil and fish, lowers the risk of hospitalisation in patients with cirrhosis.
The trial, branded ‘important’, adds to the growing body of evidence that shows the benefits of the healthy diet.
Scientists found the diet, which contains only a small amount of red meat, improves the gut microbial diversity of cirrhosis patients.