Cirrhosis/fribrosis signs

Hi,

I'm new on the board. I'm 42 and I stopped drinking before xmas. When I was in my late 20s I had a swollen liver from Alcohol at the time I was probably drinking every night and had previously drank 2 bottles of wine in a night quite regularly. I cut down but still never really had a break. I had a blood test which came back with high ggt and ast alt both twice normal. I stopped drinking had ultrasound which showed enlargement but nothing else. Within a couple of months my liver results were back to normal. I continued to not drink and was told by the liver specialist that I could drink under the units as he didn't think I had any real issues due to my results dropping so quickly. For the next couple of years I only drank on special occasions. I had my results monitored and even when I wasn't drinking my ast and alt would be at the top end of the reference. The liver specialist thought I was worrying too much. Well because of life insurance and travel insurance issues I probably avoided any more testing and continued to drink particularly when stressed. This has varied from a bottle of Pinot Grigio wine a night Friday, Saturday to filing in the days of the week in the last six months. I didn't really ever go over a bottle and if I did it would be one glass. I tried to control my drinking but I guess I knew that I would make up an excuse to go to the shop to get a bottle. Well I've been worrying that because my wife will also drink if I am that I was putting her health at risk so I started thinking about stopping. I went out on a binge before xmas and had liver pain so that was it I decided to stop and get a medical. I now terrified I've got cirrhosis through putting my head in the sand for years. I didn't think I had a huge drink problem because it didn't affect my work or home life, I didn't normally get drunk etc. I exercise 2-3 times a week and normally control my weight. The only symptoms I seem to have is quadrant discomfort which has only happened since I stopped and I also have very mild gynecomastia which I thought was genetic as my dad has it too. Are there any other early symptoms? What tests should I ask for?

Thanks

7 Replies

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  • A return to the doctors would be sensible - you've previously had an enlarged/inflamed liver and raised LFT's probably due to alcohol and have since had quite prolonged, higher than recommended limits alcohol intake. You now have concerns you may have done some damage, well go along to doctors and be honest with them about your alcohol intake - just before Christmas there was much publicity about NHS wanting to screen drinkers early to check for liver issues so your doctor should do all they can to help. At minimum you require blood tests to check current GGT, ALT plus all liver and kidney functions and also an imaging scan - fibroscan if there is one in a hospital near you or ultrasound (or better). The British Liver Trust has pages on Alcohol and the Liver at :- britishlivertrust.org.uk/li... & a big page on Cirrhosis at :- britishlivertrust.org.uk/li... If you feel you are showing any of the signs or symptoms listed on their for cirrhosis then definitely get checked out.

    Hope you get some answers for doctors soon, regardless of findings, take this as a warning and seriously think about your health going forward.

    Katie

  • Thanks Katie. I'm in Glasgow. Hopefully there is a fibroscan near. They didn't have them when I was younger. Half my office drinks about the same as me but I think I'm maybe not going to get away with it.

  • I would imagine the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has one so you will perhaps need a referral there ( I think I am right in saying most of the Glasgow Hospitals - some of which had liver units have gone into there).

    They do say that some people have a predisposition to liver disease - as you say some folks 'get away with it' whereas in others either alcohol affects them more or other liver conditions can be triggered. My hubby is tea-total and yet finds himself with cirrhosis - due to an auto-immune attack on his liver.

    Whatever the outcome, look after your liver from hereonin, the alternative isn't a great option.

    All the best, Katie

  • Glen is in Glasgow so the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital will be closer than East Kilbride.

    Hubby has never had a fibroscan as they know he already has cirrhosis - we see liver specialist in Edinburgh as well as gastroenterologist at Ayr.

    Katie :)

  • I'm actually closer to hairmyres but I'm happy to go wherever as long I can get a scan.

  • Hairmyres isn't a recognised Liver Unit and has no on staff Hepatologist according to the research on British Liver Trust site (they do have gastroenterologists with a qualified interest in the liver) so if you can get to Glasgow you'd better off.

    Katie :)

  • Hi your post is pretty typical. My advice as Katie says is to go and get a fullliver panel done. At this stage you probably have mild alcoholic hepatitis. It won't kill you but take the opportunity to have dryish January from now on in. You've probably got fatty liver as well so you need to moderate your alcohol levels to below the quoted weekly max of 14 units. I wouldn't worry unduly at this stage but do yourself a favour and go easy.

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