Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol

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Alcohol-related liver disease, or ARLD for short, is triggered by excess alcohol consumption, as its name suggests. There are three main stages of this condition, with an early symptom showing up when you got sleep.

With the temperatures reaching the 30s this week, you might have been struggling to sleep.

While everyone can have a rough night every now and then, persistent sleeping issues could be pointing to an underlying health condition.

In fact, The British Liver Trust warns that trouble sleeping, or insomnia, is one of the “early” symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease.

The charity explains that while the early stages of ARLD don’t usually cause many symptoms, insomnia might still occur “early” on.

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The NHS shares that trouble sleeping occurs once you start experiencing a build-up of toxins in your brain.

While insomnia is considered an early symptom, the health service notes that this could be pointing to an “advanced” form of liver damage as well.

“As the liver becomes more severely damaged, more obvious and serious symptoms can develop,” it states.

The health body urges to “see your GP as soon as possible” if you experience this sleep problem.

While troubled sleep could be pointing to the liver condition, this isn’t the only symptom to be aware of.

The British Liver Trust shares that other “early” signs can include:

  • An aching feeling or discomfort on the upper right side of your tummy (where your liver is)
  • Little or no appetite
  • An overwhelming sense of tiredness (fatigue)
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling generally unwell.

If you leave the condition untreated, your liver will sustain more damage, triggering more serious symptoms.

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What’s worse, alcohol-related liver disease doesn’t always have to cause symptoms.

“If you misuse alcohol, you may have liver damage, even though you have none of the symptoms above,” the NHS warns.

That’s why the health service recommends letting your doctor know if you regularly drink alcohol to excess.

What causes alcohol-related liver damage?

The liver is considered to be one of the most complex organs in your body. Being able to filter out toxins, regulate cholesterol and helping to fight infection, the organ has various functions.

While it’s really good at is regeneration, being able to develop new cells after some of its cells die each time you drink alcohol, but regularly drinking to excess can trigger permanent problems.

“Prolonged alcohol misuse (drinking too much) over many years can reduce its ability to regenerate,” the NHS states.

What’s worse, ARLD has become quite common in the UK, with the number of patients rising over the last decade.

Although the most effective way of preventing ARLD is to stop drinking, the NHS reminds to at least stick below the recommended levels.

In case you’re not aware, men and women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

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