British Liver Trust
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Worried about liver damage

Hi,

I have been on a month long alcohol binge at least 10 pints of beer a day, and have a past history of alcohol binges. I had a fibroscan done about two years ago which was fine. My question is could I have developed cirrhosis after a month of drinking this heavily? I am very worried and tapering off the alcohol to avoid withdrawals. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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I guess anything is possible; but more likely the build up of the last 2 years + maybe....im not sure. I expect you are panicking now as you are tapering off and your anxiety is bound to be very high. Do you have any cirrhosis type symptoms? Whether you do, or don't...focus first on coming off. If you have had bad withdrawal before, it may be a good idea to go to your GP ; request urgent appointment; and request some diazepam to help you. Some will give it. Once you have detoxed, get some new blood tests done maybe, see if you need vitamins and spend your sober time thinking about what you want to do from here on. Maybe its time to rethink things. Cirrhosis is a nasty disease to have. Good luck.

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Thanks for your kind reply. No obvious signs of cirrhosis, but I'm not sure what they all are. I forgot to mention I had an ultrasound done about 5 months ago which showed liver of normal size but mildly fatty.

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Ahh, i see; well could be oedema in various areas, jaundice maybe, acites (fluid in tummy); other signs too. So, it seems things were not too bad before, but mildy fatty liver can develope into fatty liver, which can develop into fibrosis, which can develope into cirrhosis. I would certainly suggest a long period of abstinence for yourself. See how your results this time go; Of course, its up to you; not easy to stop or even abstain sometimes, but try to think of your health, your future and your family. Do some research, you will find plenty of information on here about liver disease. That way, you will be alot more informed and be more aware of the risks/damage/consequences . Let me know how you get on, take care.

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I have a question. I had hepatitis c 10 years ago. Took 1 year treatment. Got cured. Never got biopsy but ct and ultrasound said liver appears normal. Lost insurance since then. So now just worry years later I might have cirrhosis. Have had times I end up just going to emergency room thinking things are wrong. And they run blood work and everything comes back in normal range. Had a ct couple of years back. Says liver appears normal. Blood test for liver comes back normal. But the thing that bothers me is right after I lost my insurance. I noticed after standing 12-15 hours a Day at work i would get pitting edema. Well then it’s gone next day. So I get scared thinking cirrhosis and go to emergency room. All liver functions test come back normal. I have heard that when you develop swelling albumin will be off in blood work. Just don’t understand how if that is a symptom. Nothing shows. Have noticed my ast is always more than alt but both are in normal range. Last year ast was 21 alt 16. This year ast 34 alt 21. Does that mean Damage is going up. Can’t get any answers any place.

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It really doesn't sound like your edema has anything at all to do with your liver with all your results being normal. Like you've pointed out in your other posts none of your bloods are out of kilter and it would be highly unlikely to be getting advanced liver symptoms when your bloods are normal.

It is possible to have edema just by standing for extended periods especially if you are in a hot climate. Only a doctor can really tell you, we can't based on a few lines of text. I take it you are not in the UK with your talk of health insurance.

Hopefully this link opens for you, it discusses some of the various potential causes of feet edema.

drugs.com/health-guide/edem...

All the best,

Katie

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I live in Texas. Only reason asking on this site is because can’t get any answers anyplace. You guys sound a lot smarter than the here. From what I see on internet pitting edema is part of the final stage and albumin will be the cause of the swelling. Then I do the fib 4 score and it shows I have a 1.46 2-3 stage doesn’t make sense.

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Fib 4 is a online calculator for fibrosis

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Platelets ast alt

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Edema is a symptom of decompensated end stage - F4 Fibrosis or cirrhosis. This is when the liver is severely struggling. It is HIGHLY unlikely you are at that stage if you are otherwise asymptomatic and have normal bloods. Low albumin is generally found in those with ascites/edema and yours is normal. Your edema is more likely to be more related to your lenghty periods of standing in hot weather as mentioned in the link above. Only a doctor is able to 100% confirm that for you though.

Katie

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I thank you for your answers. So only in stage 4 that happens. Not 2-3 because when I do that online fibrosis calculator is shows I am at 2-3 stage

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Got one more question. For the last few years when I do get blood test. All liver functions part are normal but I always have a high total wbc count and a high neutrophils. And a low lymphocytes. Doctor just says bacterial infection. It’s been that way for few years. Is that a sign of something to do with spleen.

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Will ct with contrast see cirrhosis and swelling of spleen.

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Another question. Been looking back at some labs. Total wbc count is always high. With high neutrophils. And Low lymphocytes. Does enlarged spleen lower total amount of wbc count.

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Not qualified to comment on blood test results and these need explaining by a doctor (high neutrophils/low lymphocytes needs medical follow up). Enlarged spleen normally results in reduced red cell count and in particular platelets and an increase in blood clotting time (INR) - doesn't normally affect white blood count.

Katie

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I am in the US and I agree the UK seems miles ahead of us in the healthcare sector. I have used the FIB 4 calculator. It is my understanding that the tool is better used over time to show a pattern. Lab values are are variable and often you cannot tell a lot by just one set results. From what I have read current heavy alcohol use can increase your ALT and AST and decrease your platelets making the FIB 4 less reliable in alcohol use.

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I got other questions because can’t find answers any place. I went to emergency room 5 years ago scared thinking I had symptoms of cirrhosis. They did blood work and came and said wbc count high and I showed aneimia. They did a rbc morphology and it came back saying normal. They did liver functions they came back normal. And ct came back saying liver appears normal. Does this mean I don’t have cirrhosis or what can’t get any answers. Don’t have insurance to find a specialist. Had hepatitis c 10 years ago. Got treated and cured. Ct back then said liver appears normal also. I don’t know if I am just stressed out or what.

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And 5 years ago wbc is always high up until today. I have been checked for viruse it’s still gone.

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I'll start by saying I'm not a medical professional and only speak from experience, and a knowledge about liver disease. But if you had the US done and it showed a mild fatty liver then you already have liver disease, however to have progressed to cirrhosis I think would be highly unlikely in that time. It's also unlikely to have got any better as you've continued drinking, however I suspect you're way off having any irreversible damage.

As susienna says alcohol causes anxiety. Focus on giving up the booze first and foremost and your anxiety about cirrhosis may subside.

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Thanks for the kind reply, I'm not showing any overt signs of cirrhosis, but I haved put on a fair bit of weight around the tummy and backside, but I guess 10 plus pints of Guiness a day and fast food will do that to you. Also a little more of my drinking history. I drank heavily at university, then about 12 years or so ago I gave up for a year, then I would only have drank about thirty days in a year and these would be binges of say two or three days or seven if on holiday then months off the drink. This has been the longest binge in 12 years. I hadn't drank for about three months prior to it. Does fatty liver always progress to cirrhosis? Thanks again.

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Definitely not. Fatty liver is completely reversible with life style. Eat healthy, stay off the booze or drink moderately, exercise. You know all the stuff that sounds easy but is in fact difficult.

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Thanks again RodeoJoe, I know what you mean. I just read that all heavy drinkers usually get fatty liver. Yeah the difficult part is the willpower to get the monkey off your back.

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Hi. Had a liver scan 14 months ago and all good. This week I was diagnosed with fibrosis and am having another more in depth one to check for cirrohis.

Am so scared.

Was first diagnosed with fatty liver and then hepc and b tests. Was shocked to find I had both. Pinpointed it to about 40 years ago.

Don't drink.

Will know next week. 40 years ago when I had a tattoo done, I took my younger brother and girlfriend. All got small tattoos. My brother died 10 years ago and girlfriend just before that.

I think not being a drinker helped keep symptoms etc at bay but it's suddenly hit full speed.

I wish you all the very best

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Sorry to hear about the fibrosis, I hope the indepth tests show no further progression. Thanks for you're kind reply and I wish you all the best.

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Thanks Marcoh, I think your being very positive and honest with yourself. It's only by being totally honest with yourself can you sort this out. There are two sides to this, there's obviously the physical side, but there's also the mental side to be considered. Something was telling you to go on this binge. Ask yourself what happened or what was different to last month as apposed to other months. Sometimes there's a logical reason, It could be grief, a trauma, Losing your job or money worries. I personal (unbeknown to me at the time) had a cycle to my drinking, I could go three weeks without a drink. Then drink solidly for three days, then spend three days getting over it, and then start all over again three weeks later. Once I realised there was a pattern, I could look for a reason for why.

As for the health side, the liver is a wonderful organ and can be very forgiving. However, the amount of alcohol you've consumed, may have caused damage to the liver. A liver function test would be the first course of action. This is a blood test that will give some indication as to what state the liver is in. Further tests may then be required like a CT Scan or a liver biopsy.

Good Luck, and please make sure your doctor orders up that liver function test. Above all, stay positive like you have been and be totally honest with your GP, they can after all only respond based upon what you tell them.

Regards

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Thanks for your kind reply Richard, yes the reason that sent me into this binge was the loss of my job and a split with my long term girlfriend, so at the start it seemed the best way to numb the pain, but now I'm dealing with them both and the drinking, trying to taper, I've always had a high tolerance to alcohol. I plan on seeing my GP next week hopefully and take it from there. Thanks again for the kind reply, it is much appreciated.

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I don't see you getting cirrhosis from one months worth of drinking even with hepatic steatosis. Listen a broken relationship is not a reason to go back to drinking. I used excuses for why I needed to take pain killers. It almost killed me after a while, liver damage wont discriminate based off of the extenuating circumstances that caused you to insult your liver. If you had a fibroscan 2 years ago and it was good, 1 month of drinking wouldn't cause cirrhosis. It could cause your liver to be unhappy though, if you were uneasy two years ago to get a fibroscan and an ultrasound 5 months ago. Why go back to drinking? I ended up in the hospital from liver damage, still dealing with a split abdomen from when I was sick, no girl is worth that Marcoh. Get some lab work done and take it form there, if your labs look good, you are fine. Your ultrasound showed fatty liver and if you haven't drank in two years it would seem that you are genetically predisposed to hepatic steatosis. This can turn into cirrhosis down the road, drinking is just not for you mate. It will speed up the fatty liver process, since alcohol causes fatty infiltration of the hepatocytes. Then the hepatocytes become damaged from this and causes fibrosis, with end-result being cirrhosis down the road. Stop drinking, exercise and eat right, you should be feeling better within six months. Another ultrasound would be good to see if the fatty liver subsided if you stick to that regiment in six month time frame. A fibroscan may also be in order to get a KPA and CAP score. Nothing is going to change the overall prognosis besides exercise, diet and not insulting your liver with alcohol, Tylenol and OTCs. Just saw this post was 5 months ago, but will leave this up because it is good information for others facing the same issue. Hope things are going better for you Marcoh, have you had a follow up ultrasound or fibroscan?

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Well they mostly speak about drinking 8 pints of beer or about half a pint of spirits every day for about 15-20 years to develop cirrhosis and even then only 15-20% of the people will develop it... i guess the liver is strong but its best not to put it to the test. Its for a damn good reason they say "drink responsibly".

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Marcoh, you really need to try your best to find an alternative method of coping with crisis in your life rather than using booze as a crutch - alcohol is a depressant and using it when things arn't good is really counterproductive as well as potentially damaging to both your mental and physical well being. 3.9 kPa is fortunately within normal healthy range but that's now several crisis's where you've been scared that you've done damage to your liver through excessive use of alcohol. It's unlikely that you will have sustained damage over such a short binge period BUT if this becomes an increasingly common situation you could potentially store up issues for the future.

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Hello Marco.

I'm sorry that you're struggling.

I think that there are people who really should not drink at all. Binging for five weeks is not a one evening binge. I say this not judging you. Just as a matter of fact really. It's hard even for people who drink just at the weekend to stop altogether or drink within safer guidelines (I say safer because there's really no totally safe drinking).

You need to find your way to be supported. While I understand you need reassurance and many people have already somehow done that, abusing alcohol like this is really dangerous in many ways.

You don't have cirrhosis. So you're fortunate enough to stop it from happening. Don't be another statistic. I'm not saying it'll be easy.

I'm due to have further checks and I still drink sometimes. But only one or two drinks and after having talked to a doctor. Some people can do this, others can't, your doctor is best placed to tell you where you're at.

I really wish you the best. Don't beat yourself up about what you've done so far... the moment of power is now.

Ricard

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Hi

I really hope you get your drinking problem under control before it's too late. 5 weeks binging is insane, I can't understand how that's physically possible!? The most I ever managed was 2 days and that was a one off.

Get all the help you can, ditch any drinking friends (trust me they won't be around if you get ill from going down that path) and know that no temporary pleasure drinking can give will be worth the pain liver disease can put you and your loved ones through.

I don't blame anyone for my liver disease, alcohol was not the primary cause but there isn't a single day I don't wish I hadn't kept certain bad influence people around.

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Thank you all for your kind replies, I really hope I can find the strength to stop this once and for all. Thanks again.

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Thanks again for the replies, KLND, I know it's insane and very stupid, but I've known and heard of people doing this for 20-30 years every day as davidp1 said above and then only a proportion get cirrhosis . Was just wondering if I could have developed cirrhosis from this 5 weeks daily drinking after having no damage in November? I do appreciate your kind reply and everyone elses. I need a better coping strategy.

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Sorry KLDN if it sounded like I was making excuses for my drinking or didn't appreciate your very kind advice which I do, very much.

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Hi Marcoh

No worries no offence taken. I doubt you've developed cirrhosis during the 5 week binge but a fibroscan and ultrasound along with LFTs should establish that for sure.

In regards to the reasons behind your excessive drinking, assuming there are reasons for it, I'll tell you my wife and I had 2 consecutive miscarriages and not once did I think of drinking myself to death. The first one was before I even thought I had any liver problems so it wasn't the liver disease that stopped me.

Having gone through the horrors of end stage cirrhosis, believe me when I say it's not pretty. I hope it doesn't happen to you or anyone else for that matter but if it does, you'll be regretting every drop of alcohol you've had for the rest of your life.

Good luck with everything!

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Thanks KLND for your very kind and good advice it is very much appreciated.

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