New ONS data reveals that liver disease was the second-highest cause of excess deaths across the UK in 2021. A recent survey by Delamere reveals one in four (22%) Brits increased their alcohol intake over the last year- throughout the pandemic. Heavy, excessive drinking can lead to liver damage and seriously impact your overall health.
Martin Preston, founder of a private rehab clinic, Delamere, has shared how the pandemic has impacted drinking habits across the country, said: ‘Increasingly and certainly over the last 12 months, the pandemic has been cited by guests as a contributing factor to their drinking habits.’
‘Many guests have relayed that they were drinking heavily but just about functioning, and then lockdown hit and working from home or struggling with covid related anxiety meant they started drinking more than usual.’
‘We’ve also worked with several guests who had been actively sober for many years and resumed drinking during a lockdown. The Covid pandemic has certainly taken its toll, and the fallout will likely be with us for several years.’
The team of addiction specialists from Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has shared liver damage’s warning signs and symptoms.
What are the earliest signs of alcohol liver damage?
Many of the symptoms of alcoholic liver damage can be unpleasant and incredibly gruesome. It is essential to recognise these signs early on to limit the long term effects. Several early indications indicate that you or your loved one may be suffering from liver damage due to alcohol overconsumption.
You may display unexplained weight loss, fatigue and a consistent lack of energy or appetite. There may also be frequent feelings of nausea and excessive vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Someone suffering from alcohol liver damage may also frequently experience dry mouth and an irrepressible thirst. Even after drinking lots of water or soft drinks, the individual will find it impossible to satisfy these feelings.
An individual suffering from alcohol liver damage may also notice pain or discomfort in the upper right side of their abdomen, resulting from the liver swelling up from alcohol overconsumption.
Any feelings of pain or tenderness around the entire abdomen or stomach area could be a sign of liver damage, so check with your doctor immediately if you experience anything like this.
What further signs are there?
Other more advanced symptoms of alcoholic liver damage are consistently high temperatures, fevers and shivering attacks.
If alcohol liver damage goes untreated, it can quickly and easily develop into alcohol liver disease. In this scenario, any weight loss and feelings of fatigue will have become severe, and individuals may find that their stool is jet black with a tarry consistency.
Meanwhile, the individual’s vomit may contain traces, or worse yet, consist entirely of blood. These changes are an indicator of internal bleeding. An individual suffering from alcohol liver damage may also easily bleed and bruise and experience increasingly frequent nosebleeds and bleeding from the gums.
Some physical indications of alcohol liver damage can appear in a person’s skin. An individual may develop jaundice, which is where the skin starts to yellow, and the condition can even cause the whites of the eyes to turn a shade of yellow.
Another sign that alcoholic liver disease is affecting your skin is if it begins to appear abnormally dark or light. On top of this, you may start to notice red blotches on the skin of your hands and feet.
More physical signs of alcohol liver damage or disease include clubbed fingers, where the fingertips and nails can grow into an unusual, curved shape. An individual may also start to experience unnatural levels of hair loss.
Additionally, there may be signs of swelling around the legs, feet, ankles and further swelling around the abdomen due to a build-up of fluids caused by alcohol liver damage.
Alcohol liver damage or disease can even begin to affect the brain after time, with a build-up of toxins in the brain causing individuals to experience all kinds of problems from confusion and memory loss to insomnia or general sleeping problems.