What are the symptoms of alcoholic liver disease?

Symptoms of alcoholic liver disease affect multiple body systems, including the skin, gastrointestinal system, brain and nervous system, and the blood. The most serious symptoms are related to encephalopathy (brain disorder) and affect levels of consciousness, memory, and cognitive abilities.

Common general symptoms of alcoholic liver disease

Symptoms of alcoholic liver disease are usually ongoing, with no periods of remission. Any of these symptoms can rapidly become severe:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling, distention or bloating
  • Excessive thirst
  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums
  • Severe fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Gastrointestinal symptoms of alcoholic liver disease

Gastrointestinal symptoms of alcoholic liver disease can include the following:

  • Bloody stool (the blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Vomiting blood or black material (resembling coffee grounds)

Skin symptoms of alcoholic liver disease

Skin symptoms of alcoholic liver disease can include the following:

  • Red hands and feet
  • Red, spidery blood vessels
  • Skin discoloration
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Brain and nervous system symptoms of alcoholic liver disease

Brain and nervous system symptoms of alcoholic liver disease can include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading
  • Hallucinations
  • Malaise or lethargy
  • Tingling or other unusual sensations in the hands or feet

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, alcoholic liver disease can be a serious condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling, distention or bloating
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe fatigue
  • Vomiting blood or black material (resembling coffee grounds)
INTRODUCTION

What is alcoholic liver disease?

Alcoholic liver disease is long-term damage to the liver from excessive alcohol use, leading to loss of liver function. The more alcohol consumed on a regular basis, and the longer the alcohol use lasts, the greater your risk of developing alcoholic liver disease.

Alcohol can damage the liver, leading to inflammation (alcoholic Read more about alcoholic liver diseaseintroduction

CAUSES

What causes alcoholic liver disease?

Alcoholic liver disease is caused by long-term, extensive alcohol use. Not everyone who consumes a lot of alcohol gets alcoholic liver disease, but the more alcohol consumed on a regular basis, and the longer the alcohol use lasts, the greater your risk of developing alcoholic liver disease.

What are the risk factors for alcoholic liver disease?

A number of factors may ... Read more about alcoholic liver diseasecauses

TREATMENTS

How is alcoholic liver disease treated?

The first and most crucial step in treatment is to completely discontinue your consumption of alcohol. If cirrhosis (scarring) has not yet begun, abstaining from alcohol actually can allow the liver to heal.

Alcohol cessation

The following measures can help support alcohol cessation:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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