Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking – Alcohol-related liver disease is a condition in which the liver is damaged by alcohol. You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol to develop this condition, drinking more than the recommended amount on a regular basis can put you at risk. This is sometimes known as alcoholic liver disease, and your doctor may use the abbreviations ALD or ARLD when they talk about it.

There are several stages of alcohol-related liver disease. Cirrhosis, the most serious stage of liver disease, usually takes many years to develop.

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

Symptoms such as weight loss, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) and abdominal swelling (ascites) are usually only seen when the disease is in an advanced stage.

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What causes ARLD? | What are the stages of ARLD? | Where to find help if you need help to stop drinking alcohol What are the symptoms of ARLD? | How is ARLD diagnosed? | Fibrosis (Skin) Tests and Score | How is ARLD treated? | See more information on the ARLD page on Facebook

In general, the more alcohol you drink above the recommended limit, the higher your risk of developing alcohol-related liver disease. It can also worsen other types of liver disease.

There are other factors that can increase the risk of liver damage. If you drink more alcohol than this, your chances of developing alcohol-related liver disease are higher. These include:

It’s not just monotonous or daily drinking that causes liver disease. Heavy drinking even a few days a week can lead to alcohol-related liver disease. It’s easy for most people to drink too much, putting a large number of us at risk of alcohol-related diseases.

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If you have been drinking regularly for several months according to the instructions, it is important to check your liver. Ask your doctor for a liver scan (transient elastography such as FibroScan®) if you are:

It’s really important to be completely honest about how much and how often you drink alcohol and find out if your drinking is causing harm. Knowing about liver damage in its early stages allows you to make decisions that will help your liver recover. Even if you are worried that your liver is already damaged, being reassured means you can get any help or treatment you need.

Drinking more than 4 units of alcohol a day will cause some fat to build up in the liver. Your liver breaks down alcohol, but some of the byproducts are toxic and can damage your liver. Among other problems, it builds up fat in your liver. If you stop drinking alcohol completely for a period of time (months or years) your liver can recover.

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

This stage of alcohol-related liver disease is the most serious, and about one-third of heavy drinkers will develop alcohol-related fatty liver. This usually happens after years of heavy drinking. But it can develop very suddenly and intensely, even after you stop drinking. It usually follows weeks or months of heavy drinking, but it can happen if you drink too much alcohol in a short period of time (binge drinking). This is called acute alcohol-related hepatitis and can lead to liver failure and death.

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This is the most serious stage of alcohol-related liver damage, when the liver has more severe scarring (fibrosis). Up to 1 in 5 heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis.

It is really important that you are referred to a liver specialist if you have one of the more serious types of liver damage. These conditions are very difficult to treat and require specialist care.

Reducing alcohol consumption or stopping drinking completely can be very difficult and many people need help. Useful links, websites and apps include:

Click the image to read their story, or share your own to help us raise awareness of alcohol-related liver disease.

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Emma’s story: “The doctor was only willing to spend NHS money trying to save me – and there was a good chance he wouldn’t be able to – if I promised never to drink again”

Roxanne’s story: ‘My mum was sick before she was diagnosed with liver disease and drinking was her medicine’

The early stages of alcohol-related liver disease usually cause no symptoms. It is often diagnosed during testing for other conditions. Most people are not diagnosed until their disease is severe.

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

As the liver struggles to function, more serious symptoms can develop. If you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor right away:

Alcohol Related Liver Disease (arld)

If your doctor thinks you have liver disease they will try to find out what it is and how much your liver has been damaged. This will include special blood tests and scans which are usually done in hospital.

If your symptoms or blood tests suggest alcohol-related liver disease, you may need more tests to measure how much your liver is damaged. It is important to give your doctor as much information as you can. This will help them to diagnose your condition correctly and give you the right care.

Most people are only diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease after going to A&E with symptoms of severe liver disease or liver failure. At this stage, it is unlikely that your liver disease will be completely reversed. But there is still much that can be done to prevent your condition from worsening and even repair some of the damage.

When you are diagnosed with alcohol-related liver disease, your doctor should refer you to a liver specialist. This will be either a hepatologist (a doctor who specializes in liver disease) or a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in the digestive system).

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You have the right to choose which hospital your doctor refers you to. Read our list of hospitals with specialist liver units here.

It is very important that the extent of damage to your liver is measured as part of your diagnosis of alcohol-related liver disease. This is an important piece of information that doctors use when they assess liver damage, and whether it can be reversed.

Fibrosis is the medical term for scarring. It is usually measured on a scale of 0 to 4. The higher the number, the harder it is.

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

Liver specialists can use routine blood tests to see how stained your liver is, but there are more accurate ways to check if you have liver fibrosis without doing a biopsy. These include:

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It’s really important to get your liver checked regularly because there are often no symptoms to tell you or your doctor if your condition is getting worse.

Your liver is the only internal organ that can repair itself. If you can stop drinking alcohol and eat a healthy diet, you will reduce the risk of further damage to your liver and give yourself a better chance of recovery.

Once you’ve been diagnosed, your treatment plan will depend on what stage of alcohol-related liver disease you have.

If your liver disease is in the early or moderate stages, the goal will be to treat your condition as follows:

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If it’s more advanced, your treatment will stabilize your liver disease and prevent it from getting worse. You will be treated for any complications, such as swelling (swelling) or bleeding (varicose veins). Read more about cirrhosis, its complications and how to treat it.

It is important to have regular appointments with your doctor or specialist so that they can monitor your condition. They will be able to give you more information about how often it should be, with whom and what to expect. If you have cirrhosis, you will need monitoring every six months for the rest of your life, which may include screening for a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma.

You should also have fibrosis tests to check for scarring of your liver every 2 years. This is important because there are often no symptoms to alert you or your doctor if your disease is worsening.

Early Signs Of Liver Damage From Drinking

If you have alcohol-related fatty liver, the damage may come back if you stop for a period of time (months or years). After that, it’s usually safe to start drinking again if you stick to the government’s recommended guidelines. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking of starting to drink again, if you are dependent on alcohol it may not be safe to start again.

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If you have a more serious form of alcohol-related liver disease, such as alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis, your doctor may advise you to stop drinking completely (abstinence for life) to prevent further damage.

Many people find it difficult to stop or cut down on drinking, so ask your doctor for help if needed. They can refer you to specialist advice and support from alcohol services. If you have been drinking too much alcohol for a long time, you may need medical help (medical detox) to help your body cope with starting without alcohol.

If you are dependent on alcohol, you may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop drinking, so your doctor may want to reduce your alcohol intake gradually rather than stopping it outright. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can still lead to a significant improvement in your condition.

You may be prescribed medication and

First Signs Of Liver Damage From Alcohol

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