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Drinking above the UK’s weekly low-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week can lead to a build up of fat in the liver. The liver, which is responsible for more than 500 different bodily functions, does have the capability to heal itself. However, the healing capability of the liver can only begin when a person abstains from alcohol.
Experts at Alcohol Change UK caution that the presence of a fatty liver “is an indicator that more permanent damage may occur in the future”.
The NHS points out “early symptoms” of alcohol-related liver disease, which are “often quite vague”.
It’s possible there is damage to your liver if you experience “abdominal pain”.
People who have alcohol-induced liver damage could also suffer from fatigue, a feeling of nausea, and diarrhoea.
The condition can make a person feel “generally unwell” and the person may lose their appetite.
These symptoms tend to be attributed to an advancement of alcohol-related liver disease, known as alcoholic hepatitis.
“About a third of people with fatty liver will develop alcoholic hepatitis,” Alcohol Change UK points out.
Watch out for vomiting and yellowing of the skin (jaundice), which can be a warning that liver failure could occur.
In the UK, around 7,700 people die each year due to alcohol-related liver disease.
Continuous liver damage will result in the organ being unable to heal itself; instead, scar tissue develops.
“There is no cure for cirrhosis, but sufferers who stop drinking completely have a much stronger chance of survival,” the charity adds.
Signs of advanced alcohol-related liver disease includes:
Are you drinking too much?
The NHS advises answering the following questions, honestly, to yourself:
“If you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions above, you may have an alcohol problem and are advised to see your GP,” the NHS notes.
People who are experiencing symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease are also advised to book an appointment with their GP.
Drinkline is the free national alcohol helpline, which is available on: 0300 123 1110.
The helpline, which is open for people who are concerned about their own drinking or somebody else’s drinking, is contactable on weekdays from 9am to 8pm; weekends from 11am to 4pm.
Additional support services include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon Family Groups, We Are With You, Adfam, and SMART Recovery.
Regularly drinking alcohol is linked to cancer, heart disease, brain damage, and liver disease.
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