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Signs and Symptoms of Liver Damage/Disease from Alcohol


What is chronic liver disease?

Chronic liver disease is the gradual destruction of liver tissue over time.  Several liver diseases fall under this category, including cirrhosis of the liver.

What is cirrhosis of the liver?

Because of chronic damage to the liver, scar tissue slowly replaces normal functioning liver tissue, continuously diminishing blood flow through the liver. As the normal liver tissue is lost, various nutrients, hormones, and poisons are not processed effectively by the liver. In addition, protein production and other substances produced by the liver are arrested.

What are the symptoms of cirrhosis?

Symptoms of cirrhosis vary, depending on severity of the condition.  Mild cirrhosis may not exhibit any symptoms at all.

The following are some common symptoms of cirrhosis. The symptoms vary by individual:

  • abnormal nerve function
  • fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity.
  • breast enlargement in men
  • coughing up or vomiting blood
  • curling of fingers
  • gallstones
  • hair loss
  • itching
  • jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • kidney failure
  • liver encephalopathy
  • muscle loss
  • poor appetite
  • portal hypertension
  • redness of palms
  • salivary gland enlargement in cheeks
  • shrinking of testes
  • spider-like veins in the skin
  • weakness
  • weight loss

The symptoms of cirrhosis may imitate the symptoms other medical conditions or problems, so it is best to see a doctor.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

The most common cause of cirrhosis is alcohol abuse. Other causes include:

  • hepatitis and other viruses
  • use of certain drugs
  • chemical exposure
  • bile duct obstruction
  • autoimmune diseases
  • obstruction of outflow of blood from the liver
  • heart and blood vessel disturbances
  • alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • high blood galactose levels
  • high blood tyrosine levels at birth
  • glycogen storage disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • diabetes
  • malnutrition
  • hereditary accumulation of too much copper or iron

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