Alcoholic Liver Disease
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a grave damage to the liver and its function due to consumption of alcohol in large quantities.
Alcoholic liver disease can occur after long periods of heavy drinking. Over a long period of time, there can be scarring and cirrhosis that develop in the liver. Cirrhosis is the final stage of alcoholic liver disease. Alcoholic liver disease, it is worth noting, might not develop in all heavy drinkers. The chances of developing the disease may increase depending on for how long you have been drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed. Occasional, moderate, social drinking for many years may be enough for alcoholic liver disease to develop. Alcoholic liver disease appears to be more common in certain families as hereditary or genetic factors also play a role in the development of the disease. Studies indicate that women may be more susceptible to this problem than men.
Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Disease
It is important to be aware of the fact that there may be no apparent symptoms, or that symptoms may appear at a slow pace, depending on normal functioning of the liver and the tasks it performs. Symptoms tend to worsen after a long period of heavy drinking.
The first most noticeable symptoms usually are:
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Weight loss and losing appetite
- Stomach pain, nausea etc.
- Constriction of blood vessels which look a bit like spiders on the patient’s skin
As the liver gets worse, symptoms can also include the following:
- Fluid accumulation in the legs, known as edema, and abdomen, known as ascites
- Yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, known as jaundice
- Feet or hands may appear redder than usual
- In male patients, impotence, the testicles may shrink and swelling of the breasts can occur
- Proneness to bruising and excessive bleeding
- Disorientation, confusion etc.
- Stools may appear clay or pale colored