What Are the Signs of Liver Damage from Alcohol
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What Are the Signs of Liver Damage from Alcohol

What are the signs of liver damage from alcohol? While most of us 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 develops, even from a social pattern. 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. It also raises the risk of 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 mild 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

The truth of the matter is that our liver is one the most important organs in the body. It is responsible for the filtering of toxins from what we eat and drink. It can help with turning nutrients into energy in the process.

Additionally, the liver helps get rid of waste products and fight infections. Ironically, when the liver has been damaged, it generally goes unnoticed until it reaches a later stage of progression. Therefore, it’s important to know the signs of liver damage before it gets too late.

Alcohol Consumption and Factors of Liver Damage From Alcohol

Of course, drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing liver disease. Alcoholism leads to irreversible liver damage which may be so fatal in causing death. Liver damage from alcohol can be similar whether you are male or female. However, there are some key factors that play a role in the severity or the type of liver damage that each individual experiences. These key factors include:

Gender

Women are generally more susceptible to developing liver damage from alcohol than men are. Research shows that a woman’s metabolism of alcohol within the stomach and liver is much slower than males. For a woman, it will take her to consume between 40 – 50 ml of alcohol to heighten her risk of developing alcoholic liver damage. Contrarily, in men, it could take 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 mixed alcohol, is considered toxic. Besides, it is a substance that poisons the blood. Therefore alcohol has the ability to wreak havoc on your physical and mental state, as well as internal organs and overall health. If you or your loved one has been abusing alcohol on a daily basis for five years or more, then the risk of developing alcoholic steatohepatitis is at an extreme high versus being an occasional drinker.

Nutrition

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. Many studies have shown a healthy diet of nutritious foods can stave off harmful diseases. However, living a healthy life is no excuse for alcoholism. Furthermore, it’s still possible to experience damage from alcohol abuse, no matter how healthy you live. 

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 a key for early detection. Although these symptoms can be quite vague, they include:

  • Severe belly aches
  • Anorexia / severe weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

As the damage progresses and you or your loved one’s liver becomes more severely damaged, even 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

First Signs of Liver Damage From Alcohol

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcoholics may notice significant decreases in their tolerance to their favorite drink and even become intoxicated much quicker 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, these stages are alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease 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.

The alcoholic fatty liver disease may be experienced even after just a short period of drinking. Although, at this stage, luckily the damage may be reversed if drinking stops. Detox is crucial at this stage to prevent any further liver damage in the long run.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

If drinking does not stop, then alcoholic fatty liver disease will then progress into alcoholic hepatitis after long-term continuous drinking. This phase involves the scarring and inflammation of the liver. This process prevents blood from flowing freely into the liver thus slowing down it’s intended functions. This phase of liver damage from alcohol can shortly become life-threatening. However, in some cases, symptoms are still not typically noticeable.

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

At this stage, liver damage is completely irreversible and incurable. However, further damage is preventable through 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. There are steps for keeping it under control. These include;

  • Enrolling in an intervention program
  • Take multivitamins, namely, B12 and B-complex. This can help with anemia and malnutrition.
  • A 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. Find out how you can get your life back from this life-threatening illness. Knowing the signs and symptoms of liver disease can be life-saving. Staying aware of alcoholic damage is an imperative factor in getting you on the path to becoming sober again.

At Prevail Intervention, we help thousands of families and struggling addicts recover from addiction. If you need help finding a detox, rehab, or treatment, give us a call. We have supportive professionals ready to help you find what you need to get sober. Call our free helpline with any questions or concerns. It’s available to call 24/7 free of charge. Above all, let us help you on the journey to sobriety and addiction recovery today.

Call Our Addiction and Mental Health Helpline

Alcoholism Related Resources

What are the warning signs of Alcoholism?
6 Ways to Get Help for an Alcoholic
Getting Help for Addiction
What is a Drug Intervention? 
Alcoholism in the Family
Interventions for Alcoholics and Alcohol Abuse
How Do You Know if You Need to Stop Drinking?
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

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What are the Signs of Drug Addiction?
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California Drug Interventions
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