[Alcohol-induced gastrointestinal diseases].Orv Hetil. 2003 Aug 24; 144(34):1659-66.OH
Alcohol induced gastrointestinal diseases are common and significant, and may lead to early death. The annual death caused by alcoholic liver disease and pancreatitis in Hungary is up to 8000. Metabolites, mainly acetaldehyde and free radicals are responsible for the injury. Although the alcohol itself is not carcinogenic, some maligancies are more common among alcoholics.
AIM AND METHODS
In this review the hepatic and extrahepatic metabolism of alcohol, the epidemiology, pathomechanism, clinical signs of the alcohol induced organ damages and the treatment options are summarized.
Type IV alcoholdehydrogenase in the stomach has a role in the first pass metabolism. The liver is the main place of the metabolism. If the amount of alcohol exceeds the metabolising capacity, the toxic substances cause lipidperoxidation, membrane and organ injury. Alcohol metabolism is different in the pancreas, the activity of fatty acid ethanol ester synthase activity is more pronounced. In alcoholics the leukoplakia, oropharingeal carcinoma, oesophagitis, Mallory-Weiss syndrome, liver cirrhosis related oesophageal variceal bleeding, chronic gastritis, liver diseases, pancreatitis, bowel motility disorders, malabsorption and colorectal carcinoma are more frequent. The fatty liver remains reversible for a long. Following steatohepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver carcinoma may develop. Despite growing knowledge of the role of endotoxins, cytokines, nutritional, immunological and genetic factors, it is still unknown why the given disease will develop in a patient, and there is no parameter for determining the point of irreversibility of the alterations. The possibilities for medical treatment are limited, since some patients do not cooperate properly, and on the other hand, the drugs and measurements can control only a part of the whole process (antioxidants, anti-inflammatory drugs, monoclonal anti-cytokine antibodies), and are appropriate only for the treatment of complications as ascites, portal hypertension, oesophageal varices, portosystemic encephalopathy, malabsortion, infections, vitamin deficiency.
Therefore the prevention and abstinence are very important. The task of the general practitioner and the role of the cooperation among the patient, the physician, the family and the community are very important.