British Liver Trust
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Liver failing?

His I'm new to here and just want a bitime of advise . Basically my partner of 25 years has been alcohol dependant for the last 12.He has been hospitalized over 200 times for various things from pancreatitis to suicide attempts. Last week his ankles and feet swelled up like balloons and he was in pain he was admitted to hospital where they did an ultrasound and said he has fibrosis .. but from what I've read u don't get symptoms with that..he's had significant weight loss (2 stone in 4 months) lethargic.. sickness ..his legs are now swollen up to his knees .his albumin is 28 and his alk phosphate 400.. his alt Is 170 but they say he is OK ..he is insulin dependant diabetic and his blood sugar keeps dropping to 2 ... even after eating etc .. I just wondering if anyone else has had these symptoms with just fibrosis because nobody seems concerned at all .

10 Replies

Hi debbie first of all welcome to the group, You wil find everyone to be warm,understanding , and not judgmental as everyone is in the same boat just have different areas in the boat.

My husband hasnt been diagnosed with fibrosis so i dont know what that is, but my husband has all the symtoms you share your husband has. He has been diagnosed with decompensated liver, which there are compensated where the liver is damaged but the person is able to get on with doing normal things, and there is decompenasted liver where the liver is damaged but the person is very unwell.

As far as the drs being concerned unfortunatly from what i have experienced with hubby the health system isnt interested in the sick person unless they hear the words i want help, and even then they will fob them off with oh here is a number ring them they can help. Yes their hands are tied because if the sick person wont help themselves then they wont help, but they still should have a duty of care after all they are being paid to be their dr.

Is your husband willing to give up the booze? The swelling in the legs and feet are caused because the liver can not cope with the fluid like it normally can so it sends it to other parts of the body,legs/feet/stomach. This can cause alot of discomfort and the pain in the legs could be because of the swelling but could also be because there is muscle and nerve damage which unfortunatly comes with the alcohol abuse.

Because your husband has diabetes as well thats an extra strain on his liver and i dont want to worry or scare you but if your husband continues to drink he will get sicker and loose more weight. You havent said how old your husband is but once a person gets to 50 the body starts to change and it gets where the body cant tolerate what it used to be able to eg drink.

Your always welcome here to let us know how hubby is doing or if you need help understanding somethings , if one person doesnt know im sure there is someone in the group that wil know.

Take care




Welcome to the forum.

You will find lots of useful information on The British Liver Trust website that may help you, our publication on Alcohol and liver disease will be a good place to start

Additionally, Liver disease tests explained can also offer information on the tests your partner may need;

With regards to the blood results, we kindly ask people not to post their results as Liver function test results have widely variable reference ranges and it is vital that individuals receive the right medical information from the right medical channels. It is always your own medical professionals who have the full picture of your general health and the context of any test results.

Based on the symptoms you have described it would be adviable that your partner sees a liver specialist as soon as possible, the GP can organise this referral.

We hope you find the forum helpful, there are lots of people who can offer fantastic support,

If you need to talk then our helpline is open Monday to Friday 10-3pm on 0800 652 7330

Warm wishes,



Hi Debbie you can have fibrosis without symptoms but in your partners case he's got symptoms and then some so it sounds like alcoholic liver disease which hasn't reached cirrhosis yet. Either way though the way forward is abstinence or at the very least a major reduction in alcoholic consumption. Does your partner really want to spend loads of time in hospital? If you get 6 weeks dry and then another 6 weeks you may start to see some improvements. All the best keep posting


Hello Debbie,

You've come to the best place for all things 'liver'.

Before my transplant I was also insulin dependent diabetic and learned a lot about balancing diet and insulin. I was able to calculate quite well how to adjust the dose of insulin after checking my blood glucose. But I know it is not easy.

Sounds like he needs to see his GP or diabetic nurse specialist to find out why he is getting hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Does he get hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) as well ?

I hope he can do something about his drinking. He can get his GP to refer him to the local alcohol / substance abuse services or find where they are and self refer.

He needs to follow this through as soon as he can as unfortunately unless he does he may be looking at a bleak future.

Make sure you are not left out of the equation, its hard work caring for somebody with a liver problem, whatever the cause. Try to get support for yourself as well.

By the way following my transplant my diabetes disappeared. Although it must be made clear this does not happen in every case.

Take care,



His Jim thanks for your reply ... my hubby's diabetes is due to chronic pancreatitis which is now nucrotic. . His insulin has been dramatically reduced and he is still having daily hypos (he's been in hospital 2 weeks now) the swelling in his feet and legs is no better even tho he's been on duretics for over a week .. he has been under alcohol services for a while .but now as he has been detox ed while an inpatient ..they say they're closing his case . But I know for a fact he had been drinking while in hospital even tho it's at least a 20 min walk to the shop.. so I know he has no intention of giving up altogether .


Hi Chris .. how great that you received a transplant and it's working out well for you x my husband would not join as he has no patience to use technology etc .we are very different lol. I feel like different Dr's are saying different things .. one says cirrhosis one says fibrosis the frusomide is removing the water but Dr's says there will be permenant nerve damage to his legs but I don't know what that even means . I know he's on a downward spiral and I'm not looking forward to the ride . Thanks for your helpful posts ..I nevery get bored of all the messages x deb x


Maybe doctors are using stage descriptions to explain what's going on, is calling it cirrhosis up front where the one still calling it fibrosis is possibly saying Fibrosis but at the end of the day - Stage 4 Fibrosis = Cirrhosis. There is no doubting that the symptoms your hubby are displaying are sadly those of cirrhosis. Have you read up the BLT page on Cirrhosis at :-

I found it a goldmine of information when my hubby was diagnosed with it out of the blue following late stage symptoms in April 2012. He though is now doing 'ok' in the medical sense - no ascites (touch wood), no jaundice, only minor HE and even his portal hypertension has gone (ok down to the loss of his spleen) & no varices for 2 years.

I don't know much about the nerve damage thing but it's certainly been mentioned on here before - it's likely to be peripheral neuropathy which is common in diabetics. I have put a link here to the NHS page on Peripheral Neuropathy and hope it makes things clearer for you.

Wishing you the very best of luck,

Katie x


Hi Kate my hubby is a law unto himself as he has been home for 2 days and each night drinks 2 can's of high strength (9%) lager . He has convinced himself that this doesn't matter and won't affect his condition. .I beg to differ... he is asleep a lot in the day and said his legs are very painful ..although I have to admit swelling as gone done a lot . He has a liver consultant app in Jan so hopefully I'll know more then xx deb

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What about his diabetic clinic, have they not pointed out the risks of peripheral neuropathy in a diabetic i.e. not feeling knocks and bumps to feet leading to infection (gangrene) and possible amputation - we've all seen them in their wheel chairs at the hospital door minus limbs.

You sound like you are having the same battle as poor Lyn is with her man, not accepting the evidence that is clearly in front of him. I root for you ladies and don't know how i'd cope in the same boat. My hubby would stand on one leg on the hospital roof and sing the birdie song if doctors told him it would give him his health back but sadly there is nothing that can be done to treat hubbies condition - we just have to go with the flow.

Wishing you all the best and much strength.

Katie xx

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Hi Katie ..I'm sorry to hear there's no cure for your hubby's health must be so hard to watch people throw their lives away when your fighting for yours x I have told him the complications of damage but it goes in one year and out the other x I could bloody punch him x deb x

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