The largest gland and second largest organ of our body, the liver is one of the worst victims of alcohol abuse. Drinking too much leads to some irreparable loss to this organ. Being a relatively bigger organ in our body, its initial inflammation or scarring will not be noticed by the body itself. There will hardly be any signs in the initial years of your drinking. Your liver is designed in such a way that it can withstand years of damage by repairing itself and protecting the body. However, the sad part is that the symptoms of liver failure due to alcohol only become prominent in the last stages of acute liver failure, and by that time, the damage has already been done.
Alcohol abuse results in three main liver diseases, and keep in mind, these are some severe complications, namely - fatty liver, hepatitis, and liver cirrhosis. Before these advanced stage complications occur, following can be some of the vague signs, which you must not ignore.
- You're gradually feeling that your appetite is becoming less with every passing day. Loss of appetite directly indicates some issues in your digestive system.
- Frequent episodes of lethargy, fatigue, and a general feeling of poor health.
- When you wake up every morning, you feel nauseated, unhealthy, and these feelings are often accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
- Pain that you've been ignoring for long can be a hint towards some problems. The liver is located in the upper right part of our abdomen. To see if you experience pain in that area, just put your right hand over the lower right hand side of the ribs. This will cover your entire liver area. If you feel pain after gentle or little hard pressing, it is again a hint towards organ damage.
- Even if the pain is not frequent, severe abdominal pain can be a hint towards possible damage.
If these vague signs occur periodically, it means your organ is still not damaged completely, and it is still fighting to protect your body. You must not delay in scheduling an appointment with a doctor if the above signs have been experience by you. While these may be vague, some more serious signs that you have been experiencing from few days to few weeks can be a signal towards more damage.
These are as follows:
- Yellow skin (highly possible, a case of jaundice) and yellow eyes indicate that your health is deteriorating due to internal problems.
- Occasional episodes of blood vomiting (called haematemesis).
- An abrupt change in stool color (dark black & tarry stools) indicates your digestion and detoxification of wastes functioning have been impaired. Indirectly, it signifies signs of the alcoholic live disease.
- Weight loss that has been consistent for a relatively long period (few weeks).
- Loss in concentration and focus, especially, episodes of memory loss. There could be abrupt personality changes in a heavy drunker.
The above are combined signs of all the three diseases that have been stated earlier. Immediate medical intervention is absolutely essential to decrease the further damage in any of these diseases. Moreover, drinking must be stopped completely. The doctor will conduct blood tests, ultrasound scan, and biopsy tests to know the extent of damage. Depending on the severity, your treatment plans will be chalked out. If you're still not experiencing acute signs as mentioned above, it is in your best interest to fight your addiction and quit drinking.
Remember, you're not alone in this journey and you've got support of doctors, experts, family members, friends, and rehab centers. Exercise your will to beat this deadly habit. You can avoid this disorder if you put a check on your drinking habits as early as possible. Drink occasionally, but ensure it is in limits, and don't make it your staple diet. Else just after 10 years of heavy drinking, you'll have to face some life-threatening consequences. The choice is always is yours. Choose to stay healthy.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.