Liver Disease: Expert discusses risks and symptoms
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As the name suggests, alcohol-related liver disease, or ARLD for short, is caused by consuming excess amounts of alcohol. Although the early stages of liver disease don’t usually show many warning signs, a health charity shares one “early” sensation that could hold clues.
Whether you hit the beach or just visit your local lido, your skin might be itchier than usual during the summer period.
From sand to chlorine, there are various triggers that might make it irritated and dry.
However, if you’ve noticed persistent itching that’s been going on for a while, it might be pointing to an underlying health condition.
The British Liver Trust warns that itching is one of the “early” symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease.
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The charity explains that while the early stages of ARLD don’t usually trigger many warning signs, itching is still considered to be an “early” symptom.
The NHS explains that itchy skin might not be a sign of anything serious but it could also point to problems like cirrhosis.
In case you’re not aware, cirrhosis describes scarring of the liver that’s been caused by long-term liver damage.
Unfortunately, this type of scarring prevents the organ from working properly, the health service explains.
However, this stage is considered to be the last part of liver disease and it doesn’t happen without your body ringing alarm bells.
Apart from itchy skin, cirrhosis can present with symptoms including:
- Feeling very tired and weak all the time
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sex drive (libido)
- Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
The NHS explains that it’s necessary to “see a GP” if you experience symptoms like these.
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While itching could be pointing to alcohol-related liver disease, the condition doesn’t always have to cause symptoms.
In fact, the health service explains that alcohol misuse can lead to liver damage without causing any signs.
That’s why it recommends letting your doctor know if you regularly drink alcohol to excess.
Although your liver is able to filter out toxins and regenerate, drinking too much regularly can leave you with permanent problems.
“Prolonged alcohol misuse (drinking too much) over many years can reduce its ability to regenerate,” the NHS reports.
Furthermore, ARLD has become more common in the UK, with the number of patients rising over the last decade.
Although the most effective way of preventing this condition is by quitting drinking, the NHS reminds to at least follow the recommended limits.
In case you’re not aware, men and women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
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