What are the early signs of liver damage from alcohol?
Early signs of liver damage from alcohol are swelling of your liver, unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, which may lead to discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen. The early stages of alcohol-related liver disease often have no symptoms.
Because of this, you may not even know that you’ve experienced liver damage due to alcohol.
If you like to drink—and more than half of Americans do—you obviously want to make sure that you’re not drinking so much that you’re at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol. But that’s not the only concern.
Even if you’re not an alcoholic, you could be damaging your liver.
There are three alcoholic liver disease stages:
- Fatty liver, also called steatosis, is the earliest and most common form of alcohol-related liver disease. It’s basically what happens when there is too much fat inside of liver cells, making it harder for the liver to function. Fatty liver can occur fairly quickly—even within a few weeks—in people who drink heavily.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, accompanied by destruction of liver cells. It occurs in up to 35 percent of heavy drinkers.
- Cirrhosis, the most severe form of alcohol-related liver disease, happens when scar tissue replaces normal tissue. It occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers after years of excessive alcohol consumption.
So how much can one safely drink?
True “low risk” drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week for women and no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week for men.
If you drink beyond those levels, you truly are taking your chances.
Many heavy drinkers—even alcoholics—never develop cirrhosis. But there is also evidence that some degree of extra fat can be deposited in the liver after just one session of heavy drinking.
There are a number of factors that affect your risk of liver damage early signs of liver damage from alcohol, including nutrition, genetics and gender (women are more susceptible than men.)
It’s also important to keep an eye on your weight, as the combined effects of obesity and heavy drinking can significantly increase the risk of liver damage.
Alcoholic liver disease occurs after years of heavy drinking. Over time, scarring and cirrhosis can occur. Cirrhosis is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease.
Alcoholic liver disease does not occur in all heavy drinkers. The chances of getting liver disease go up the longer you have been drinking and more alcohol you consume. You do not have to get drunk for the disease to happen.
Early signs of liver damage from alcohol is common in people between 40 and 50 years of age. Men are more likely to have this problem. However, women may develop the disease after less exposure to alcohol than men. Some people may have an inherited risk for the disease.
How to Repair Liver Damage from Alcohol
It is possible to repair liver damage from alcohol and acetaminophen. The liver is the single internal organ capable of complete regeneration. Even with some areas of the liver not working, it is still able to provide support to your body.
The liver is fast in its regeneration. However, disruption of the healing process due to chronic alcohol use and drugs overdose lead to the formation of scar tissue which the liver cannot remove.
Quitting the use of alcohol is an important first step towards repairing liver damage. All liver damage repair processes are internal since it is your body that repairs the damaged liver.
This is why liver damage from alcohol treatment is progressing faster and better with proper nutrition. Repairing the liver is easier if you have not developed liver cirrhosis. You should take the following steps to repair liver damage from alcohol
- Do not drink any more alcohol and stay away from harmful substances and drugs. You do not want to add more injury to your already-hurt liver.
- Eat healthy to give your body all the nutrients it needs to repair the liver. Eating healthy also ensures that your body functions well despite the damaged liver.
- Stay well hydrated at all times. A well hydrated body is able to clear toxins faster and properly carry out body processes such as repair of damaged tissue and organs.
- The severe liver disease may cause decreased muscular strength. Exercise moderately if you can. It will improve circulation and reduce your risk of having non-alcoholic fatty liver and cardiovascular diseases.
Call your medical care provider as soon as you note the early signs of liver damage from alcohol. The signs and symptoms may come after heavy or prolonged drinking. You should also seek your doctor’s advice if you get concerned that your drinking habit is damaging your health.
Alcoholic Liver Disease Symptomsearly signs of liver damage from alcohol
Symptoms often don’t emerge until extensive liver damage has been done. They can include:
- Inflammation of the liver, which results in potential abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, nausea, fever, fatigue and weakness
- Confusion, agitation, poor judgment and trouble concentrating
- Pain in the center or upper right part of your abdomen
- As liver damage worsens, symptoms can include jaundice, build up of fluid in the body, internal bleeding and muscle wasting.
Blood tests can reveal potential liver damage, which can then be confirmed by an ultrasound or liver biopsy.
The good news is that, by stopping drinking, liver damage can often be reversed. Maintaining a healthy weight, controlling diabetes, exercising and eating well can also help reduce liver damage and keep you healthy.
Your liver is the organ found on the upper right side of your abdomen, just under your ribs. It has many functions that are essential to your health, such as:
- breaking down drugs, alcohol, and other potentially toxic substances
- producing bile to aid with the digestion of fats
- storing nutrients like glucose in the form of glycogen, as well as certain types of vitamins
- making proteins that are important for blood clotting
Various substances can damage your liver. While liver tissue can regenerate, continued damage can lead to the buildup of scar tissue. As scar tissue forms, it replaces healthy liver tissue. This can impair your liver’s ability to carry out its vital functions.
early signs of liver damage from alcohol Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of liver damage. When liver damage has happened due to alcohol, it’s called alcohol-related liver disease.
Below, we’ll explore the early signs of alcohol-related liver disease, what alcohol actually does to your liver, and what steps you can take in your day-to-day life to improve your liver health.
Alcohol-related liver disease actually encompasses three different liver conditions. Let’s discuss each of these in a bit more detail.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is also called hepatic steatosis. It happens when fat begins to build up within your liver. Consuming too much alcohol can inhibit the breakdown of fats in the liver, causing fat accumulation.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is common in heavy drinkers. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90 percentTrusted Source of people who drink heavily have some form of this condition.
People with alcoholic fatty liver disease typically have no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can include:
- discomfort in the area of the liver
- unexplained weight loss
Alcoholic fatty liver disease can be reversed by abstaining from alcohol for at least several weeks. The exact amount of time can vary by individual. For some, abstinence may need to be permanent.
If someone with this condition has alcohol use disorder, a healthcare provider will need to set up a treatment plan. This plan will help manage the condition as well as the withdrawal symptoms that may occur with abstinence.
If excessive alcohol consumption continues, inflammation levels can begin to increase in the liver. This can lead to a condition called alcoholic hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis can have the following symptoms:
- pain in the area of the liver
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Alcoholic hepatitis can be mild or severe. In mild alcoholic hepatitis, liver damage occurs slowly over the course of many years.
Severe alcoholic hepatitis can come on suddenly, such as after binge drinking, and can be life threatening.
If you develop alcoholic hepatitis, you may be able to reverse the damage by permanently abstaining from alcohol. Treatment also involves dietary changes and medications to reduce inflammation.
Some people with severe alcoholic hepatitis may need a liver transplant.
Continued liver damage due to alcohol consumption can lead to the formation of scar tissue, which begins to replace healthy liver tissue. This is referred to as fibrosis. When extensive fibrosis has occurred, alcoholic cirrhosis develops.
The symptoms of alcoholic cirrhosis are similar to those of alcoholic hepatitis. Additionally, alcoholic cirrhosis can lead to a variety of serious health complications, such as:
- portal hypertension (high blood pressure of the liver)
- ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
- hepatic encephalopathy (brain damage due to increased toxin levels in the blood)
- bleeding from veins in the upper digestive tract (varices)
- increased risk of infection
- kidney failure
- liver cancer
Alcoholic cirrhosis can’t be reversed. Treatment focuses on minimizing additional liver damage while addressing any complications that arise. In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Symptoms Of Alcoholic Liver Disease
One should ask questions about diet, caloric intake, risk factors for malnutrition, and also about the risks for various types of chronic liver disease, including chronic viral hepatitis.
Questions about the following symptoms are necessary and informative:
Nausea and vomiting
Fever (in alcoholic hepatitis)
Yellowish discoloration of eyes
Loss of appetite
Alteration of the sleep-wake cycle
- Being unable to control alcohol consumption
- Craving alcohol when you’re not drinking
- Putting alcohol above personal responsibilities
- Feeling the need to keep drinking more
- Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
Early signs of liver damage from alcohol AND Early symptoms
If you do experience early symptoms of ARLD, these are often quite vague, such as:
- Abdominal (tummy) pain
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick
- Feeling generally unwell
- Behaving differently after drinking
- Mental confusion
- Being unable to wake the person.
- Slow (fewer than 8 breaths per minute) or irregular (10 seconds or more between each breath) breathing.
- Bluish skin color
As the liver becomes more severely damaged, more obvious and serious symptoms can develop, such as:
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet caused by a build-up of fluid (edema)
- Swelling in your abdomen caused by a build-up of fluid known as ascites
- A high temperature (fever) and shivering attacks
- Very itchy skin
- Hair loss
- Unusually curved fingertips and nails (clubbed fingers)
- Blotchy red palms
- Significant weight loss
- Weakness and muscle wasting
- Confusion and memory problems, trouble sleeping (insomnia) and changes in your personality caused by a build-up of toxins in the brain
- Passing black, tarry poo and vomiting blood as a result of internal bleeding
- The tendency to bleed and bruise more easily, such as frequent nosebleeds and bleeding gums
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol and drugs because the liver cannot process them.
#1 Liver Treatment That Works: Top Rated Treatment for our Readers:
Try Urgent Liver Repair product which contains over 23 high-quality sourced ingredients. These essential vitamins and minerals are designed to target a toxic liver by flushing out the fat of a clogged liver. Urgent Liver Repair helps repair and protect your liver.