You liver’s job is to combat naturally occurring toxins. Excessive drinking can take a toll on that job.

Even one night of heavy drinking can leave fatty deposits in the liver, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Years of alcohol abuse cause major trouble—from alcoholic hepatitis (occurring in up to half of all heavy drinkers) to cirrhosis, usually fatal and found in about 15 to 30 percent of heavy drinkers.

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Here are the stages of liver damage:

FATTY LIVER: Some degree of fat deposited in the liver occurs in most heavy drinkers. It is reversible and not believed to lead to more serious damage.

ALCOHOLIC HEPATITIS: Scar tissue replaces healthy tissue. Symptoms may include fever, jaundice and abdominal pain. This condition, which occurs in 50 percent of heavy drinkers, can be fatal but may be reversible with abstinence.

ALCOHOLIC CIRRHOSIS: The most advanced form of liver disease, diagnosed in 15 to 30 percent of heavy drinkers, is characterized by extensive fibrosis that stiffens blood vessels and distorts the internal structure of the liver. This often leads to the malfunction of other organs such as the brain and kidneys. It usually is fatal but can stabilize with abstinence.