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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Four signals of alcohol-related liver damage


If the liver had pain nerves, nobody would ever take a second drink.  The stuff is that toxic. Spill a drop in a cut or an accidental splash in the eye will demonstrate what I mean.  The liver is a resilient, tough toxin eradicating giant, but it will let you know when it's had enough punishment. (Read the transcript or share the YouTube video )

Here are four tells of alcohol-related liver damage.
1) Waste elimination issues.  Bloody or black stool is a sign you've damaged something.  See a doctor immediately. Dark urine, light-colored diarrhea are more common.  They're caused by your body dumping bile, which it over produces to combat the toxin.  The yellow is from bilirubin, a pigment in the bile. Urine will be dark when you're dehydrated.  Another issue associated with alcohol.  But consistently dark urine is a warning sign your liver is in danger.  Also, bilirubin is eliminated in sweat. A white shirt will look yellow in the arm pit.

2) Bilirubin also makes you appear jaundiced, which is a yellowing of tissues.  The first place you'll notice this is not the skin, but the whites of the eyes.  Fingernails also can yellow.

3) A swollen and/or sensitive abdomen is a telling sign you're pretty far down the path on alcohol-related liver damage.  The liver becomes fatty.  It's located mostly behind the ribcage, and when it swells in size it will force your other entrails down to the softer belly.  Cirrhosis also builds up fluid in the abdomen as well.

4) If you tire easily or feel fatigued, blame the alcohol.  It doesn't just clobber your sleep, as covered in previous episodes of The Sobriety :60+.  The body also is working overtime and channeling energy to remove alcohol and its toxic byproduct just to survive.  This is the most common symptom, and most overlooked one until it is joined by some of the other ones.

These conditions can be the results of other health challenges, but if you're a drinker, the obvious solution is usually the right one: Quit.  What causes problems, is one.

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be found on www.alcohologist.com, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today.