Hi all...I've just been diagnosed with alcohol related fatty liver. My doctor said i can continue drinking at 14 units a week or less. I've read a few articles saying you must stop drinking ummediately. Does any have any advice that may help me.
If you have got a diagnosis of alcohol related fatty liver then the only way to reverse this and not progress to fibrosis and ultimately cirrhosis is to abstain completely. Others on here have previously said they've got the advice about drinking within guideline limits and some time down the line their fatty liver has become cirrhotic and failed.
You have been fortunate in finding out this diagnosis before you have developed cirrhosis so for the sake of your liver and your future health I would be cutting the booze out altogether.
Unfortunately the main British Liver Trust website has gone off line at the moment with its many helpful on line and downloadable leaflets but I am sure their guidance would be about knocking the booze on the head altogether. Alcohol is a toxin, some people 'get away' with drinking whilst others like yourself develop fatty deposits within the liver - fatty change is the start of liver damage and if you continue to 'assault' your liver with a toxin it can't process then it will ultimately go fibrotic and perhaps cirrhotic (and trust me you do not want cirrhosis).
Thank you for taking time to write a comprehensive response Katie. That's what I thought and the doctor has confused me. My wife is made up that I can still have a few drinks with her as this seems the sociable thing to do. I'm more worried about my long term health though. I can't imagine my relationship with my wife would be good if I abstained completely. But I know you're right and that my doctors advice seems floored. I have a liver condition that needs to recover.
The good news is that yes you are at a stage when it can recover. If you do continue drinking it may come a point that it won't. You can still go to pubs, enjoy meals out and such like without an alcoholic drink explore the alternatives, there are even cocktails and stuff that don't contain alcohol, being a non-drinker doesn't have to be a stigma or an inconvenience - my husband is life long tea-total and still got cirrhosis through an auto-immune condition. He wishes he could have done something to ward of his condition but sadly he couldn't whereas you do have that opportunity and I hope your wife can come to terms with having a non-drinking husband because the alternative (worse case scenario) is she will have to support you through a rather ghastly illness.
It is a great pity that the liver trust website is currently down because their leaflets do help to explain what fatty liver is and how to reverse it and look after your liver going forward.
At the end of the day it is your decision but as the wife of a lovely guy who has got cirrhosis I can say that the loss of a drinking partner is better than the lost of a partner altogether.
My hubby only got diagnosed after he had a massive upper GI bleed which could have killed him, he's undergone 2 years + of intensive banding therapy to eradicate varices in his oesophagus, suffers symptoms such as chronic fatigue, confusion, memory difficulties, lack of drive, complete loss of libido & sexual function, irregular bowel habit due to medication, tremors in his hands, had to have aneurysms banded in his splenic artery and so now has no viable spleen to help fight off infections, spent 10 months 'living on the list' waiting for a potential liver transplant (then suffered the disappointment of being delisted - although we've now come to see that as a positive as it was because he's doing a bit better). He can no longer work because he can't stay awake long enough or concentrate properly, can no longer drive himself, can't really make journeys on his own etc.
I am not trying to lecture but ask yourself are a few drinks worth it? Hopefully your wife will support you in looking after your liver, surely she'd rather have you around as you are rather than suffering a really nasty deterioration towards liver failure.
You've got the chance to turn it around, please grasp it.
I feel humbled by your situation and I feel irresponsible in the extreme. I'm sorry that you have been (and are still going through) so much upset and strain and change.
Thank you for responding Katie your detail and support have moved me and I will get my head around this decision point. I'm fairlupset fit and healthy but am in shock at this diagnosis. You're absolutely right I have the chance to change and it's all self inflicted. The consequences of continuing to ignore the warning signs are devastating in the extreme. Looks like I have a life without alcohol ahead of me for a while, certainly until late the blood and scan results are normal. My doctor has told me to come back in 6 months for a further blood tests to check that my fatty liver has faded...recovered.
It's down to me now.
Best wishes for you and your lovely man.
Hi Andrew, 😀
Katie is absolutely right. Katie and her husband's situation is very similar to mine and my husband, Matt. However, I am the one who has cirrhosis due to too much plonk. I totally understand about how your wife is over the moon that you can still drink. I never thought that I could live a life without having that social alcoholic drink with Matt. He still drinks and of doesn't make me feel any different about him. I'm sure that your wife will stand by you.
May I ask, has your wife looked into liver disease with you? Matt is researching all the time.
AyrshireK is wonderful 🌼
I wish you and your wife well.
My wife hasn't had any tests and hasn't looked into liver disease. I have recently suggested that she requests the liver function test but she has declined to take this to her doctor.
She rightly says that she is probably burying her head in the sand. My wife is a very strong character and her parents have drunk to excess all of their lives and got away with it. So she uses this evidence as her barometer.
I want to stop. I want to get better.
Thank you for your advice, I really do appreciate it.
It's my life and it's my liver. I can't imagine the difficulty that you must have with cirrhosis.
Can I respectfully ask how much you drank and how often?
Andrew..Im sorry but if your facing an illness that says you need stop eating salt (ad by the way, you are..lol..or at least cut far back) should not your partner be supportive of that? If you continue to drink..you might die.
Does THAT matter to her? Find a new doctor that can explain it to her. And NOT say its ok to drink. Maybe I'm misreading this..and I probably am..but, she needs to get on board. If my partner did not care about my health and just wanted a drinking buddy..he would have to go. My partner might have a pint if we go up to dinner..but that's it. (but hats because alcohol makes him feel bloated..lol)
Also, using her parents as a barometer is a bad idea. It's not how much we drink, but WHY we drink that causes alcoholism. And, if she wants to use that as her barometer, that's fine..but YOU don't have to. How much does SHE drink?
sorry, I am not trying to take away anything from your partner..but you should be able to quit drinking with out it effecting your relationship. If you can't..well..
I'm fairly well educated and hold a decent job in a major blue chip company. Everything you say makes sense but why is this so hard to do.
You're right about my wife. So right. She won't go to the doctors to have her bloods tested, I've suggested that but....no way!
Dont be too hard on yourself..you've just gotten your diagnosis and probably are still in shock, as is she. As far as her getting her blood tested? I'd leave that alone. Worry about YOU. If there is something wrong with her, it will eventually come out..just like yours did! But for now, lets worry about what you CAN do, and that's you focusing on getting better Change in drinking, diet, exercise, plenty of water and resting when you need too!
And your in the right place for support!
cheering you on!
Thank you so much...that's great
My wife drinks most nights and sometimes 2 or 3 large glasses of wine.
I gave up every single person that needed me to drink with, even if it meant family. No regrets either, that was years ago.
Agrees with Katie! Stop Completly before it's too late!
But for how long?
Please, feel free to ask me.
I was doing near to a BOX of wine a NIGHT. When the 'after effects' came on the next day eg shakes, stomach pains, cravings then I would start drinking earlier to 'make it better' . in the end I went on to drinking Vodka to end the evening to deflect the pain of acid reflux but as we all know drinking was making it worse. I actually thought I had a stomach ulcer.
I began more and more to instantly fly into rages. Someone once commented it as 'a red mist comes over me' I didn't care. I was acting selfish, thinking everybody else was just 'getting at me'
What is worse is that my past 3 generations have had alcoholism but not directly died from it. It was during my first heptologist appointment that I was informed my Liver was 'sensitive' because of genetic traits. I didnt know that but it is no excuse for me.
I hope this post can somewhat help you and your wife, Andrew. My saviour is Matt, my husband. He has now given up work to care for me. Now, what does that tell you?! Yes, I am incredibly lucky to be alive and continue to have Matt's love, kindness and total support but also that my pathetic actions and tunnel visioned attitude had had an astounding effect on my darling husband's career. Seriously, I couldn't see beyond the end of my nose. To make it worse,
I willingly hold my hands up, Andrew and accept my misfortune. I am reeping what I sew. Like I mentioned in an earlier post I am so relieved you have become aware of your body and drinking. Well done you. The first step is the hardest.
Please keep in touch
Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I really appreciate it.
I suppose there comes a time when life decisions are made. This is that time for me.
Tonight will be the first Saturday night I will not have had an alcoholic drink in a long time. However, I did go dry for a month October 2015.
You're so right that I am in a great position to be aware of my issue before it becomes far more upsetting. Not just for me but for my family.
Ideally my wife and I would stop drinking together but this will not happen. My wife won't stop and her control around alcohol is far better than mine.
I think full abstinence is the answer for me. This is the only answer to be certain of change and liver recovery.
I do play football which is good for someone my age so exercise is already a part of my life.
I've heard that grapefruit and spinach are great super foods for the liver.
Nice one, Andrew!
Keep the faith and try to be true to yourself for the sake of your family.
Will think of you tonight.
I would find a new doctor, one that wanted me to live. Drinking will with every month make you more ill. I say this based on experience: alcoholism, hepatitis c, fatty liver disease along with the hep c now liver cancer. Very limited life but I can still cycle some weeks 40 miles! I exercise many hours every week but its all will power cause I do not want to die. The liver cancer is more than 2 years old, the docs are so surprised as I will not let them treat it. You can have an easier or a harder life, in the end its your choice but there are good folks here to help you. Best wishes.
Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it. I'm pleased I posted here as the response is very clear from everyone but more than this it's based on experience.
I can't thank you enough.
Without disagreeing with my fellow posters I would take the following course of action..you've just been diagnosed with fatty liver...its not uncommon...its probably because of too much booze over a long period of time like me. Let's be clear you won't reverse fatty liver drinking 14 units a week...this is the new guideline for normal livers
Best way to go is try and avoid alcohol for 3 months get tested again. And see how it goes. You may well respond to this well and not miss it. From then on just go in moderation on hi days and holidays. Forget binge drinking from now on. All the best
Well done for posting here my friend, reading all this stuff is the easy bit though, I'm an ex-addict, your going to need support. The first time I walked in the doors of an AA/NA meeting I never took anything in, thought "how the hell will this help me", But the words you here somehow stick in your mind. To abstain from alcohol while your liver heals is SO important and if your in a relationship with a user it is impossible. Alcohol fatty liver is a whole different ball game, YES leave alcohol alone and have a healthy diet it will heal but it will come back within months of heavy alcohol use, and so on until you develop the real scary liver disease.
This is your warning.
Thank you for the advice. Thus really helps. Never saw myself ginger to AA but maybe I should. My wifes a drinker but no where near as bad as me.
This going to be difficult and I was not aware that fatty liver reoccurs. Even with decent control.
I think I'm in denial about AA.
If you take care of yourself and abstain from heavy drinking your fatty liver will not re-occur. Once in AA I met a lady who for years thought she didn't have a problem with alcohol, she worked professionally, had brought her kids up and only drank at the weekend but during that weekend she drank to excess and couldn't stop the weekend binges without the support of the AA. The myth about people with a Alcohol problem is the vision that an alcoholic is someone who drinks every day.
If you think about it rationally your present situation with your health has been caused by heavy drinking therefore if your lifestyle doesn't change then a few months down the line you will be back in the same situation. The process of doing this causes scaring on your liver witch is the beginning of fibrosis and then your well on your way to cirrhosis.
Thanks. You're so right. I didn't have a drink last night and found that OK. My wife drank next to me and I wasn't really bothered. I think I am getting the message and theres no doubt that with theach fatty liver being diagnosed then failing to change will simply result in the situation deteriorating.
Honestly, your helping me so much.
Firstly, how has the doctor diagnosed you? It is just one blood test or have you had scans? Ultrasound? Fibroscan? If you have your blood test numbers can you post them?
I dont think you would find any Liver doctors that will tell you to carry on drinking 14 units a week. Your Liver will recover much better with none and also watch your diet, sugars, fats should be avoided and red meats. Give your Liver the easiest time possible, avoid any over the counter meds etc.
If you haven't had any scans I would enquire about getting an ultrasound atleast, just to be sure.
Hi, yes I have had 2 lots of blood testsugar (I don't have the results but I'll ask for them tomorrow and will post them). I've also had ultrasound but nothing else (no fibroscan).
What you're saying makes so much sense, why on earth did my doctor indicate that I need to effectively 'moderate' my drinking.
Thank you for your response and time and support.
I have been through the same, with tests etc and its very stressful.
I'll be honest, I think your doctor is being a little careless here. If you had an ultrasound that showed fat and some Liver enzymes raised? it does mean FULL attention has to be given this situation. The enzymes (if) raised means the Liver is not only fatty but starting to swell, for fat to even show on Ultrasound it has to be pretty well established.
I had a 100% clear ultrasound and enzymes were normal, AFTER 6 months of not drinking I had a Firboscan, 4.2kpa and 233CAP. The 233CAP means there was a slight amount of fat above normal even after 6 months of clean living ! The Fibroscan is much more sensitive.
Your main aim now is to get your bloods down (if they were starting to rise) and then repeat the Ultrasound in 3/6months. You need to be sure the issue is resolving. If you are feeling worried and want more information then go for a Fibroscan.
Thanks. I'm nervous about asking for a fibroscan.
I totally understand. But to try and ease your mind I do know of a guy who drank so much he ended up on a litre of vodka a day, no food for months and ended up collapsed on a beach yellow. He had Alcoholic Hepatitis, he stopped drinking and is still alive and well today 16 years later, now a published author too!
Whilst the Ultrasounds and bloods are much better to evaluate with a Fibroscan along side it I dont think you should be hitting the panic button just yet. The ultrasound is good for ruling out serious damage, its the lower end of scarring its not that accurate at.
I used to be an unrepentant drinker, a couple of pubs visits a week for a good "session". I wouldn't touch the stuff with a barge pole now! You dont really realise that you have been wasting life until you haven't drank for at least 6 months. There IS a life after Alcohol and it aint that bad! Im coming up to 2 years without a single drop!
Amazing to make such a change. I recall my father smoking all of his life and the doctor told him to STOP. he did. Just like that.
I was so proud of him and his will power.
He was warned though that of carried on it would kill him. He lived a decent life for many many years.
You're an inspiration as is my dad. Change can be made.
Seems so weird to be talking of not drinking again.
I have a works night out on 24 June. Do I tell people what's wrong with me or just tell them that I no longer drink?
The advice from your doctor is not unusual many are pretty relaxed about fatty liver just treat it as a wakeup call and act accordingly otherwise you could end up with fibrosis...
Alas, alcohol is longer ok for you to drink.
Alcohol will only make your liver disease worse. You might as well pour gasoline on your liver and light a match. Sorry to sound so dire..but I don't want you to think it's safe, in any way. I mean, your diagnosis tells you that.lol. Was that from a GP or a liver specialist? (I cant imagine a specialist saying its ok)
As a recovering alcoholic who had to get a liver transplant, I can tell you this. I was three and a half years sober (completely sober, no alcohol at all) and THEN I got sick.
The specialist told me I had stopped drinking past my sell by date..lol. No, she said that it was already too late, and my liver just kept getting worse.
Hopefully yours is not that bad..it does not sound like it. I drank heavily for many years.
As far as being social goes..look at it this way..if you need alcohol to be social..then your not a social drinker.
I've had the best times of my life sober. End of story. I truly have!
You can still do anything you like. But now you can be the designated driver..tell your partner that!! lol
It sounds like you already know what to do..so do it!
Also, cut out sodium, or anything high salt. And anything with too much iron. Other people on this forum know better about the fatty liver dietary restrictions.
It sounds like they caught it in time!
your so lucky!
Yes, the common theme seems to be that I am very fortunate to have caught this when I did ( hopefully).
Yes, I know what I need to do and I feel nervous. Life for me without a drink or 2 is a massive change. The problem is that if I don't make that change my life will deteriorate so so much.
I feel so nervous cos the solution is obvious.
Andrew..your getting a lot of support here and I can tell its helping you. If you are an alcoholic, imagine the support you could get at an AA meeting also? They can help with the booze part. Often people put down the booze, but they do not get help in the area that keeps them stopped. They say the same man will drink again, and if nothing changes, nothing changes. So, just a thought There's actually a FREE app called Steps Away..it will tell where and when the closest AA meeting is to you. Everyday!
In fact, I's say a lot of my social life does revolve around AA. Hanging out with friends, going to get coffee, going to meetings together. People from all walks of life go there. I was a professional also, before I got sober, and then I went back to school to get my PhD. so, everyone is welcome!
It's for you to decide if your an alcoholic or not..no one can make that choice for you, and Im not saying you are..but if you think there may be a chance, check out a meeting or two..sometimes the first one may not fit..often people are too scared their first meeting. You dont have to speak, you can just listen!
Great advice....thank you...gonna get my head around AA and take it from there. Maybe a few weeks from now I'll know whether I can survive without the drink.
Great! I hope it helps..please let me know. And it never hurts to try something new..that's my thoughts..I always recc. at least 2 meetings, because your first may not be the one for you..or, you may find your home-group! lol (home-group is a meeting you attend every week. Normally you become friends, close friends, hopefully with some people in that group. Its a place you feel safe to share your problems! )
good luck sweets!
Believe me, RisingSun you can live without drink 👍
Well done for getting through last night, that's brilliant . One step at a time👣. Enjoy the rest of the weekend 😊
Thanks.....last night seemed much easier because everyone said the same thing... STOP....
That is just what you needed to hear. Honesty really is the best way. Have you got plans today? Im in bed tormented with aching joints and muscles 💙
Hi..just done a Tip run...my son also did a triatalon this morning so I was up early and cheered him on.
Decorating this afternoon.....and no more drink or red meat from now on.
Certainly till the all clear sounds.
Absolutely. Enjoy the sun! 🌻
The main factor with fatty liver is reducing the alcohol bit ...do that and you should see significant results..as for diet I would avoid sugar rather than red meat....but eating less red meat is better anyway.
I'm sorry your in so much pain
Thank you. X x
Another night without drink. Went for a shirt run with my 12 year old too.
Nice one. How are you feeling?
Hi ...I feel good but a bit tired.
You're doing really well ☺, keep the faith and keep going with us! ☺☺☺
4 days without a single drink...
You are doing so well. Keep going and keep in touch. I've been thinking about how you are getting on. ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺
Thanks for that. I'm with a different doctor tomorrow to go through all of my results. I'm also gonna request a fibroscan...I'm gonna also ask him why the other doctor said i could keep drinking at 14 units a week. Thus seems to be very very bad advice.
I would ask exactly the same. Glad your appointment is tomorrow. ☺Sounds like you are going to beat this before it's too late. Really pleased for you x P.S. let us know how you get on. X
Thanks for the support ...will do.. 😀x
You're welcome! Imagine every drink you DON'T have is a bubble of fat dissolving off your Liver! I'm too late as mine is too scarred. Pickled. 😯
Thinking of you x
The scarring worried me and if I have a fibroscan it should shed some light on this?
Hi there .....that's another Friday night without drink....totalling 8 nights. Not really missing it at the moment. Been decorating and walking the dog and 5 aside football.
Hope you're OK...
Hey! Good to hear from you! That's brilliant news! I send you my best wishes. You sound strong. I am so pleased that you have contacted me Keeping busy is key, I'm trying to organise a Carboot to raise some money but it is not being efficiently done while I am stuck in bed. Really glad that you are getting out. What type of dog do you have? We have a pyrean mountain x
King Charles....but he seems to have springer in him...he's quite tall.
Must be hard organising things from your bed?
Keep up the amazing though hey.
Yep ....for some strange reason I feel really strong...
Don't know why or where it really came from...wonder whether it's speaking with kind people like yourself.
☺☺☺☺☺☺ That is so kind of you, thank you! I've just woken up feeling tearful and received your very kind post! The reason for you feeling strong isn't to be seen as strange, it is your true self coming through ☺
We recently has to put our springer spaniel to sleep at only 3yrs old. She was mad but gorgeous and loyal,
What are you up to today? 😊
Hiya....aww...that's so sad putting your springer to sleep...
Been decorating and walking Alfie.
Starting to waiver a bit and fancy a drink...strange...don't know where the desire came from...
You Have done so well! I won't judge you at all 💛Matt had last night off beer and is determined to at least cut right down.my is legs were twitching like anything!
Car boot organised for tomorrow!
Risingsun, the thing is, the sun is shining 👍, you've done your jobs, walked Alfie 🐕 and got satisfaction from doing it! ☺
It will be natural to relax with a drink. But that is where pure determination comes in (just like your son completing the last part of his triathlon 😀)
However you spend your evening, really enjoy it with your wife. I'm off to watch X factor 😊
Take care and keep in touch x
Hiya hope the car boot goes well and that you feel better.
Going to bed now.
Blew it tonight as I had a full bottle of red over 4 hours. I picked one that's 12 % so that's about 9 units.
It's bank holiday this weekend so hopefully that's a 1 off.
It's not easy but I do think I'm taking good steps in the right direction. I'd normally drink every night and 2 bottles at the weekend. I've gone on days without anything.
Speak soon my friend.
You have an opportunity to turn your liver disease around, why take the risk? For a moment of satisfaction, you could suffer a life time of difficulties.
Your wife should be supportive and if she can't then you really need to speak to her. I've never drank even a smidgen of alcohol and I ended up with a very rare form of liver failure and there was no treatment to even help me. I wish I did have that opportunity because it is always better to live with your own organs than having a transplanted organ which of course makes a difference to those that have gone through the rough end of liver failure.
Please speak to your wife or get another liver doctor to speak to her. She probably isn't aware of all the implications of having liver diseases and the symptoms that you'd have to live with
Thank you for taking the time to help, I really appreciate it.
My wife seems to be trying to cut down too.
I've decided to join a gym and try to make this a positive thing in my life ( the no drinking thing).
You're words are so true....why risk a life time of complications for that drink or 2.
Surely if my liver results return to normal I would be allowed to drink at normal levels though?
Say ...under 14 units a week?
last blood test a month ago. I've had 5 months drink free but last week I drunk a lot . Now my side and...
coming back normal. So, like any logical person I continued to drink. Fast forward to November 2015
like I've only got weeks to live after every visit) sent me for a fibroscan today. The reading of it...
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