British Liver Trust
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Are these symptoms already a sign of a serious condition?

Hello. I am a 45 y/o male. I keep fit and run 5miles 3-4 days every week. My weight is 90kg. My heart rate, rested, is usually 50ppm. Have drunk regularly for many years. Beer, wine, GT,... Never in the morning, always after lunch or in the evenings. For several years now I drink about half a bottle of wine a day during the week (sometimes a bit more), and socialised over the weekend with dinners and lunches out on Fri/Sat and Sun, which means the amount could increase to a full bottle on average over the w/e.

About a year ago, after a heavy drinking weekend, I would wake up in the night with increased heart rate and not be able to fall back asleep all night. I stopped drinking spirits and slightly reduced the heavy drinking during the weekends.

Now this is happening to me when drinking less. Last Sunday, I had a beer before lunch, and during lunch and up to 8pm I drank a full bottle of wine (13%abv). It was over many hours, with food and drinking plenty of water, but it was a full bottle of wine. Sunday night I woke up again feeling the same way: increased heart rate (maybe 80ppm), sweating and nervous. In the morning, something that is occuring more and more: a red face with itching and burning feeling on my skin. The itching is spreading all over my body. This could be from sweating while working-out? I have very dry skin, so it is a possibility but I cannot help and associate it to other liver disease symptoms. Also feel a bit light-headed.

Last November I had a regular blood and urine test taken and everything was ok. Even so, I do feel something is going wrong. In February I stopped drinking all together for two weeks, and felt fine. No withdrawl symptoms at all. So started to drink the occasional glass of wine in the evenings that soon became two. But usually feel fine with this. However, if I drink just a little more, the symptoms crop up again. Last Sunday being the worst. Some tummy cramps appeared too and a very dull pain under the rib cage, centre front. That has gone away.

I am very worried because obviously my tolerance to alcohol is going down and down. Is it because I have gone too far and my liver is damaged?

Personally, this is a bit more that just a drinking-health problem. I work in the wine industry, am a professional wine consultant and manage the international sales for a large wine producer. So you can imagine how worried I am.

Thank you all for your comments and advice.

10 Replies

Just to say i have had alot of the same symptoms as you but all tests have come back clear so might be that we are intolerant to wine? That's what the liver trust (charity) said to me a while back.. Go back to docs for tests i say but doubt if anything will show up


Thanks for your support sunflower! I hope you are right!


Not a problem at all, as I said I have very similar symptoms to you, have a read of my previous posts for the low down. Ask Docs for LFT's and a scan, be honest with them about your drinking. Please keep us posted on our progress.


hi there-I started to get very similar symptoms a few years back-I was a heavy wine drinker for years. The redness of the face and increased intolerance are classic symptoms of liver stress in my opinion-you might be lucky though and not too much damage or no damage that can't be reversed. I suggest seeing the doc and explaining the symptoms and be straight about it. Hopefully you should be referred for a full liver panel (include GGT). Sounds like you might have borderline fatty liver-this can be reversed-I've done it! If you're in the london area you can do a full liver test at a private clinic for £150-probably elsewhere too. In the meantime-try and keep the weekly units to what's recommended with a few days off per week-drink plenty of water. You might want to consider a fibroscan which detects liver stiffness. Don't panic-keep us posted. Cheers


I was lucky enough to receive a liver transplant following heavy drinking. You say your symptoms are fine when you stop drinking, it seems obvious to me what you need to do. You appear to be an intelligent person so deep down you know what you need to do. I stopped drinking for 3 years before being placed on the transplant list and even then I waited 18 months for the operation. I am lucky to be still be here and tell you what I think you should do. I know that a liver can recover but only if the damage is not too great. My experience has been extremely unpleasant. Please take note of what I tell you and I wish you the very best of good fortune.

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Dear sunflower, briccolone and ancientadolescent. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and for being so supportive. This morning I had my appointment with the Doctor. Although she doesn't believe I have a serious condition, she has ordered a full liver test -in her opinion, just to be on the safe side and give me peace of mind. I was very clear with her and explained my full drinking history and symptoms. Her initial thought is that I may have developed an allergic reaction to wine (sulphites, histamines,..). In any case, just like you have clearly referred to in one way or another, the body sends messages that should not be ignored. If these results come back -hopefully- all okay, I will definitely still reduce my alcohol intake and look after myself more. Fingers crossed. I should know by next Tues/Wed. Thank you!


Hi allroad.. I will be following this with interest.. Are they just doing lft's or are they testing for an allergy to alcohol? Fingers crossed for you.


I would be interested in the GGT blood test if she orders it which she should-check my post on that search ggt on this forum-keep us posted


Subbed. Curious to find out what's up. Good luck with everything.


Allroad any updates from you? would be interested to know how you are getting on..


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