What too much alcohol does to your liver

  • 10/05/2018
What too much alcohol does to your liver
Photo credit: CW/Lifechangers

Video of a pair of hard-drinking American twins being shown the damage they're doing to their livers is shocking viewers online.

In the clip from US TV series Lifechangers, host Drew Pinsky shows twin sisters Jessica and Vanessa what a healthy liver is supposed to look like.

"You see how its architecture is relatively intact, its colour is relatively homogenous," the doctor explains, using a cross-section of a real human liver that looks remarkably like a steak.

"This is what a healthy liver should look like."

He then unveils the liver of a person who spent their life drinking too much, to gasps from the audience.

"These are all regenerative nodules. The liver is full of scar - it is attempting to regenerate itself, and as it regenerates it comes up against scar and forms more scar."

He says women lack an enzyme to break alcohol down, and are at five times' greater risk of cirrhosis than men.

"Every woman I've treated that drinks like either of you do has some degree of alcoholic liver disease," Dr Pinsky tells the pair. "It's not possible that you don't."

A failing liver can lead to brain damage, as toxins build up in the body. It can also hamper your immune system and lead to varicose veins, he says.

"They rupture and you can bleed to death in minutes."

The shock tactic isn't a complete success. Other online clips from the episode, which aired in 2011,  show while Vanessa admits she has a problem and agrees to go into rehab, Jessica refuses.

Recent studies have found drinking too much booze is linked to shorter lifespans and premature aging.