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Will a person know when their liver cannot handle any more?

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by primalclaws1974, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    My wife's aunt died from alcoholism a year ago. She kept swelling up with toxins when her liver couldn't handle her alcohol intake. They kept warning her, but she didn't listen. She died at 42. I was just wondering if there are always warnings like this, or do some people just die without any indication their liver is getting bad?
  2. juliaintheclouds

    juliaintheclouds Active Contributor

    I think that many people have damaged livers for a while before they feel any symptoms. If the damage gets very bad the effects will start to be felt though. If you get a standard set of blood tests they will normally test your liver function. If you or someone know may be at risk for liver problems they should speak with their doctor and get some tests done. A little preventative medicine is good for piece of mind!
  3. LitoLawless

    LitoLawless Senior Contributor

    This is actually a really good question. I really think that it's one of those things that you will only realize when it is a bit too late to actually do something. There might be signs here and there, but for the most part I'm guessing that they are way too small to even notice. They are probably so small that a lot of people probably end up ignoring them altogether.
  4. primalclaws1974

    primalclaws1974 Senior Contributor

    The reason I ask this is that it has been two years since I had a blood test. At the time, my liver function was good. I have heard that it takes 10-20 years of drinking to mess up your liver. I have been drinking for about 20, but it wasn't always regular, and never every day. Since my liver was okay two years ago, I would like to think in two years it hasn't deteriorated too much. 10-20 years, right? Or is that a rationale, and since I have already been drinking a long time, will it take less time, even when it was healthy two years ago?
  5. juliaintheclouds

    juliaintheclouds Active Contributor

    You seem to be a bit of a hypochondriac like me. I worry so much about my bodies deterioration or diseases that could be forming that I'm unaware of. I would doubt that your liver has deteriorated greatly in only two years because it is a slow process but if you have been drinking for 20 you have a right to be a bit worried. Get another blood test at your yearly physical. Stressing about it is probably more damaging to your health in the long run.
  6. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    Yes there are noticeable signs of liver damage. Jaundice, yellowing of the eyes, is a sure sign of liver damage. Probably the first noticeable. Bad smelling breath is another. You will be shocked by the smell.
  7. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

  8. petesede

    petesede Active Contributor

    There is always liver damage when certain chemicals enter your body. Even Acetaminophen (tylenol) kills liver cells. Normally there are enzymes located inside liver cells, when the cells die, those enzymes are released into the bloodstream and this is what we use to detect liver damage. Normally there is always liver cell death going on in small amounts and so there is always a small amount of these enzymes in the blood. But when you binge drink or take some other chemical, the enzyme levels will spike.

    Our bodies can repair the liver and it occurs continuously. but when an area of the liver becomes damaged frequently, your body stops trying to repair it and instead seals it up and permanently makes it non-functioning. As this happens to more and more sections of your liver, gradually there is not enough good liver to perform it´s functions and you get build up of toxins in your blood ( which often accumulate in the eyes) If you quit drinking many years ago and did not have liver problems then, you will not suddenly develop liver problems now, but the thing is, your room for error is now much smaller because there is probably some permanent damage.
  9. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Interesting to know/read how the liver works on the replies on this thread. ;)
    I think it is usually late before someone or an alcoholic be aware that his liver is already damaged. Late stages could manifest those symptoms like pains/discomforts.
  10. wander_n_wonder

    wander_n_wonder Active Contributor

    What's a bit scary with any liver problems is that they won't show up until it's very very late. Oftentimes, when one is diagnosed of liver cancer for example, it is at the late stages already. Prior to diagnosis, there's barely anything that a person actually feels. So, my take here is this: make sure you handle alcohol in proper moderation and you would never have to worry about reaching that level of your liver's health where it's going downhill already.
  11. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I'm guessing there are symptoms and there are probably ways to tell when your body is not functioning as it used to but often people jus try and ignore it until it's too late. I think it's best to study up especially if you have some bad habits and it's probably also best to get regular check ups just to be sure. Unfortunately, most addicts know this would almost certainly mean having to cut down so hey just don't mind it.
  12. karmaskeeper

    karmaskeeper Community Champion

    As for the yellowing of the eyes I see that a lot in my two brother. They are straight drunks, and the is nothing anyone can do. I know other people that have the yellowing of the eyes as well. That is to me the biggest sign of liver damage.
  13. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Senior Contributor

    I had a scare recently when my upper hip had swollen. Apparently this is a possible side effect from heavy drinking, and I might have had to go into the doctor to have it drained. Thankfully that wasn't the issue, I had just strained it really bad from getting out of bed the day before, and the swelling went down in a day - but during that time I was freaking out.

    You may notice yourself smelling worse than usual too, which I believe is due to your body sweating out a lot of the toxins. Speaking of sweat, you are more prone to sweating as well. I was laughing at one episode of Kitchen Nightmares from a few years ago, because Gordon Ramsay was teasing one of the employees on the show for sweating so much. They even put together a montage of clips of him covered in sweat while they were filming the show. In reality, the poor guy was probably a heavy drinker. You could tell from his appearance and demeanor he was probably hitting the bottle pretty hard, but they tip toed around saying that on the show itself.

    I've also had instances where I started dry heaving, as if my body was trying to get me to vomit up the sips of alcohol I had just drank.
  14. 4rainydays

    4rainydays Member

    As OhioTom mentioned above, dry heaving is a very good sign, as well as an overall feeling of sickness. My boyfriend is a serious alcohol addict who believes that life is boring unless he has a drink in his hand. It got to the point where he was throwing up everything that he ate and drank, even water. This happened several times before he correlated the two.

    Besides nausea, feeling tired all the time, abnormal swelling in the abdomen or yellowing of the skin or eyes is another bad sign. The abdomen swells because it's actually the liver that's swollen from trying to process all the alcohol. If you want to make sure, I think you can find out the health of your liver through blood tests, but you would have to ask a doctor to make sure of that.
  15. karmaskeeper

    karmaskeeper Community Champion

    I don't know if this related to the liver or what. I can remember this happened several times to me, and the pain was god awful. I would be on about a 3 day drunk, not eating or eating very, very little. Once I was sober I had tiny sores in my mouth. My throat to I guess because it hurt like hell too. I could not eat, and I mean nothing not even ice cream. The pain was awful to the point of tears.

    I finally had to go to doctor for antibiotics as well as something for pain. I was given pills, and a mouth risen it worked thank god. Never did get an answer for what was wrong. Which at that point I didn't care I wanted the pain to stop.