Signs of liver damage from alcohol. While we all consume alcohol at one point or another whether socially or in the comfort of your own home, that is fine, the real problem, however, starts when addiction to alcohol is developed. Make no mistake Alcohol is a Drug. Drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages on a daily basis severely increases one’s risk of a heart attack as well as several cancers, heart disease and fatal liver damage from alcohol leading to liver disease. Liver damage from alcohol can occur both in heavy drinkers and alcoholics.
For an alcoholic or heavy drinker with liver damage from alcohol there are many treatment options. However, one of the biggest contributors to treating liver damage from alcohol will be their ability to quit drinking.
Depending on the severity there could be withdrawals and cravings once they attempt to quit drinking. Make no mistake about it, if you or your loved one has liver damage from alcohol this is a warning sign of alcoholism.
Facts About Your Liver
Truth of the matter is that our liver is the most important organ in the body and is responsible for the breakdown of the things we eat and turning them into energy, it helps to get rid of waste products and fight infections and ironically, when it has been damaged, it generally goes unnoticed until it reaches a later stage of progression.
Alcohol Consumption and Factors of Liver Damage From Alcohol
Of course, drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing liver disease and leads to irreversible liver damage which may be so fatal causing death. While liver damage from alcohol is the same whether you are male or female, there are some key factors that play a role in the severity of the type of liver damage that each individual experiences, these include:
Women are generally more susceptible to developing liver damage from alcohol than men are since a woman’s metabolism of alcohol within the stomach and liver is much slower. For a woman, it will take her to consume between 40 – 50 ml of alcohol to heighten her risk of developing alcoholic liver damage than in a man, where it takes higher doses of 60 – 80 ml of alcohol on a daily basis.
Duration of alcoholism and consumption rate
Any over consumption of alcohol whether pure or chased, is considered as toxic and has the ability to wreak havoc on your physical state, mental state, internal organs and overall health. If you or your loved one has been abusing alcohol on a daily basis for 5 years or more, then the risk of developing alcoholic steatohepatitis is at an extreme high versus being an occasional drinker.
If an alcoholic has a well balanced diet, despite their alcohol addiction problem, then it is possible that they would be less vulnerable to developing liver damage from alcohol.
Symptoms of Liver Damage From Alcohol
In most cases, persons who have developed a liver disease do not experience symptoms until their case progresses and becomes more severe. However, there are still earlier symptoms that may be used as key for early detection and can be quite vague, these include;
- Severe belly aches
- Anorexia / severe weight loss
- Loss of appetite
As the damage progresses and you or your loved ones liver becomes more severely damaged to the point of driving you into the ER, more severe symptoms will begin to show, some of which include:
- Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet due to fluid retention
- Abnormal fevers accompanied with chills
- Hair loss
- Confusion, insomnia and personality disorders due to toxin build up in the brain
- Ulcers – vomiting blood and having black stools due to internal bleeding
- Ultra-sensitive skin causing you to bleed or and bruise very easily, especially from the nose and gums
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholics may notice significant decreases in their tolerance to their favorite drink and even become intoxicated much quickly than usual, this is because the liver has been so badly damaged that it can no longer carry out its natural functions and is now unable to process the foreign substance. Since this is typically the peak point in developing liver damage, more severe hangovers and withdrawal will be experienced during this phase.
Types of Liver Damage From Alcohol
There are three (3) types of alcoholic liver damage which actually work together in stages, namely, alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis.
Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
This is the stage where there is a build up of fat within the liver which causes liver impairment and swelling. Symptoms of liver damage are not typically experienced in this stage, however, individuals may begin to feel fatigued, weak or experience discomfort in the upper-right abdomen.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease may be experienced even after just a short period of drinking, however, at this stage, luckily the damage may be reversed if drinking stops.
If drinking does not stop, then alcoholic fatty liver disease will then progress into alcoholic hepatitis after long-term continuous drinking. This phase involved the scarring and inflammation of the liver which prevents blood from flowing freely into the liver thus slowing down it’s intended functions. This phase of liver damage from alcohol can be life-threatening, however, in some cases, symptoms are not typically noticeable.
At this stage, liver damage is completely irreversible and incurable, however, further damage is preventable by complete non-consumption of alcoholic beverages and has the ability to improve symptoms. If you or your loved one continues to drink despite this fatal stage of liver damage, then there is a 50/50 chance that death will occur within five (5) years.
Once alcoholic cirrhosis is diagnosed, the individual is more than likely dependent on alcohol and will require medical treatment whether inpatient or outpatient as well as constant support. This is the stage where the liver is completely scarred.
Treating Liver Damage From Alcohol
At this point, regardless of being irreversible, there are ways to keep the situation from progressing and keeping it under control. These include;
- Enrolling into an intervention program
- Take multivitamins, namely, B12 and B-complex. This can help with anemia and malnutrition
- Liver transplant may be needed if cirrhosis reaches an extremely complex stage
- Vitamin A supplements, however, this supplement if taken while the individual is still consuming alcohol, can be very deadly
Getting Help for Alcoholic Liver Damage
If you or your loved one is battling with a struggle of alcoholic abuse, do not hesitate to contact us now and find out how you can get your life back from this life threatening illness. Knowing the signs and symptoms of liver disease is an imperative factor in getting you on the path to becoming sober again.