Fatty liver disease: ‘Warning signs’ of a damaged liver from alcohol overconsumption

Billy Connolly discusses his struggles with alcoholism

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Alcohol is a toxin, and even though the liver has the incredible capability to heal itself, there does become a point where the organ has simply had enough. A team of specialists from Delamere – a private rehab clinic – point out the “warning signs” of a struggling liver. It is essential to recognise these signs early on, the specialists said, to limit the long-term effects.

Physical indications include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and a consistent lack of energy or appetite.

There may also be frequent feelings of nausea, as well as excessive vomiting and diarrhoea.

“Someone suffering from alcohol liver damage may also frequently experience feelings of dry mouth and an irrepressible thirst,” the specialists added.

“Even after drinking lots of water, or soft drinks, the individual will find it impossible to satisfy these feelings.”

A person suffering from alcohol-related liver damage could feel pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen.

“This is a result of the liver swelling up from alcohol overconsumption,” the specialists explained.

“Any feelings of pain or tenderness around the entire abdomen or stomach area could be a sign of liver damage,” the experts stated.

“So check with your doctor immediately if you experience anything like this.”

More advanced liver damage can lead to a consistently high temperature, fevers, and shivering attacks.

Liver damage can also make the skin bruise more easily, there might be frequent nosebleeds, and bleeding from the gums.

Red blotches might appear on the skin of the hands and feet, or skin might “appear abnormally dark or light”.

Clubbed fingertips are also an indication of liver disease, in addition to unusual hair loss.

The legs, feet, and ankles might swell, as well as the abdomen due to a build-up of fluids.

Any stool that is “jet-black in colour with a tarry consistency” should be reported to your doctor.

Vomiting blood, even tiny traces, is indicative of internal bleeding, which is a medical emergency.

Alcohol liver damage can also lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes), which is also a red flag requiring medical intervention.

“Alcohol liver damage or disease can even begin to affect the brain after time,” the experts added.

A build-up of toxins in the brain can lead to bouts of confusion, memory loss, and insomnia.

If you would like help with changing your relationship with alcohol, visit Alcohol Change UK.

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can call Drinkline’s free helpline – in complete confidence – on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).

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