Alcoholic liver disease: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms vary based on the severity of the disease. They are usually worse after a recent period of heavy drinking. Disease changes start in the liver as inflammation (hepatitis) and lead to fatty liver and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease.

Symptoms may not be present until the disease is advanced, and may include:

* Abdominal pain and tenderness
* Dry mouth
* Excessive thirst
* Fatigue
* Fever
* Fluid collection in the abdomen (ascites)
* Jaundice
* Loss of appetite
* Mental confusion
* Nausea
* Unintentional weight gain (because of fluid collection)

http://www.health32.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/digestive-system.jpg

Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:

* Abnormally dark or light skin
* Agitation
* Bloody, dark black, or tarry bowel movements (melena)
* Breast development in males
* Changing mood
* Confusion (encephalopathy)
o Changed level of consciousness
o Hallucinations
o Impaired short- or long-term memory
* Difficulty paying attention (attention deficit)
* Impaired ability to concentrate
* Impaired judgment
* Light-headedness or fainting, especially when standing
* Paleness
* Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) when rising to standing position
* Redness on feet or hands
* Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
* Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

Diagnosis & Tests

* Complete blood count (CBC)
* Liver biopsy
* Liver function tests such as ALP

Tests to rule out other diseases include:

* Abdominal CT scan
* Blood tests for other causes of liver disease
* Ultrasound of the abdomen

Alcoholic liver disease: Overview, Causes

Alcoholic liver disease: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Alcoholic liver disease: Treatment


Review Date : 9/1/2008
Reviewed By : Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

Tags: , , , .

Leave a comment