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early signs and symptoms of liver disease

Early Signs and Symptoms of Liver Disease

Friday, September 23, 2022

Many women know their problem drinking can cause severe health issues like organ damage, but still feel compelled to continue abusing alcohol in search of short-term relief from their emotions. However, you must seriously ask yourself whether alcohol’s brief feel-good effects are worth the toll drinking is taking on your body – including making you more likely to develop liver disease.

The Liver’s Function in Your Body

The liver is an essential organ, performing hundreds of life-sustaining functions. It’s also a gland because it makes proteins and hormones used by other parts of your body.

While the liver performs hundreds of functions, some of the most essential ones include:

  • Eliminating old red blood cells
  • Making bile, a fluid that helps digest food
  • Metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates and fats so your body can use them
  • Producing substances that help blood clot for healing
  • Regulating the amount of blood in your body
  • Storing glycogen and vitamins for later use

When you drink alcohol, your liver breaks it down and metabolizes it. Every time this organ performs this action, some of its cells die. Though your liver can regenerate itself to some extent, prolonged heavy drinking can create scarring called cirrhosis, an advanced form of liver disease that is typically irreversible. The damage caused by conditions like cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis can be extensive enough to cause organ failure, which may lead you to need a liver transplant.

Warning Signs of Liver Disease

One of the telltale symptoms of liver disease is jaundice. This condition will cause your skin and the whites of your eyes to turn yellow because of an excess waste product called bilirubin in your blood.

Other symptoms of liver problems may include:

  • A buildup of fluid in your abdominal region
  • Bruising easily
  • Itchy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swollen ankles and legs
  • Weakness, loss of balance or constant fatigue
  • Confusion and disorientation

How to Stop Drinking

Since denial is a leading characteristic of addiction, you may wish to believe you can somehow dodge all the negative consequences of having a drinking problem – including liver disease. Sadly, this unrealistic viewpoint will allow your self-destructive behavior to continue, which could shorten your life.

You can give your liver and other organs a chance to recover from the damage caused by alcohol by quitting drinking – ideally for the rest of your life. However, if you are physically dependent on alcohol and drink daily, tapering off or going cold turkey can be extremely dangerous. Though the desire to heal your body may be highly motivating, you can still be at risk of relapsing if you don’t effectively address the root cause of your addiction through therapy.

If you are considering going through professional treatment to help you break the cycle of addiction, Canyon Crossing is here for you. We have created a women’s-only recovery center that addresses the gender-specific needs involved in substance use disorders. Contact us today to learn more about recovering in Prescott, Arizona.

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