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alcoholism

my husband has a huge stomach.  he is an alcoholic and refuses to get treatment. He has high liver enzymes, he eats very small portions for a man, its not unusual for him to have bad indigestion and vomit.  Lately
his ankles are beginning to swell , what should I expect next.
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1475202_tn?1388955435
Based on the limited information you have provided me, I can only make assumptions of what might be going on with him.  The reason his belly is so large is because he is retaining fluid. This is called adema. Two things cause it- one is that his body isn't making enough protein albumin which floats around in your blood stream and helps your blood retain water.  If your body doesn't have enough albumin the water leaks out of your veins and into your body- legs or stomach.  The other is that if blood is leaking out from the intestines though the liver and it backs up in the abdomen causing fluid retention there as well.  This fluid can harbor bacterial infections that kill without treatment. At which point a hospital is needed to have the fluid drained.

I hate to continue with this line of spectulation based on the facts you have provided. I'm sure your husband is a good man and you already stated you care for him very much. So to ramble on about such bad things seems pointless and cruel. I would love to offer you better and more accurate answers based on more facts. (questions I mentioned above)

I am not a medical professional in anyway, just a concerned group member with the disire to help other group members. I hope this has helped you in some way. God bless you and your husband.
Randy

Do you know if the doctor has wanted to do any further testing such as an endoscopy, ultra sound, and CT scan? If so then he would probably be testing for cirrhosis. If it is verified that he has cirrhosis then he will need to stop drinking imediately. In fact since his enzymes are already elevated he should not be drinking at all.

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14 Comments Post a Comment
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271792_tn?1334983257
Hi & Welcome,

Has he been to the doctor to get a check-up? Alcohol can do so many things to the body, and of course the brain. Swollen ankles can also indicate water retention and it could be associated with heart disease. See if you can't get him to go and see his doctor at least.

Also, there is an Alcoholism Community here at MH and you may want to post there for additional responses. Here is the link:

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Alcoholism/show/158

I wish you both the best.
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1475202_tn?1388955435
Hello,
Do you know what his lab tests numbers were? Such as his bilirubin, ALT and AST scores? Since his enzymes are high then his liver is not very happy right now. Has the doctor shown any sign of concern? Has he scheduled any other testing? How much a night does your husband drink?

These questions are important to give you better and more accurate answers. I will watch for your reply. Take care
Randy
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1485372_tn?1359548731
He goes to the doc every 6 mo. They tell him his labs are not good and they would help him get in a program.  He doesnt want it.  He is very happy  hurting himself.  I have done everything and said everything.  Now it is up to him.  I just want to know what to expect next.  I know the swelling can be from the heart.  It may be enlarged.  He is a heavy smoker and has no exercise.  I know he is doomed but I care about him and since he doesnt want my help I just was wondering what the next symptom will be.   He really is very happy living this way.   Im not but I have accepted this and just wanted to know whats next.
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1475202_tn?1388955435
Based on the limited information you have provided me, I can only make assumptions of what might be going on with him.  The reason his belly is so large is because he is retaining fluid. This is called adema. Two things cause it- one is that his body isn't making enough protein albumin which floats around in your blood stream and helps your blood retain water.  If your body doesn't have enough albumin the water leaks out of your veins and into your body- legs or stomach.  The other is that if blood is leaking out from the intestines though the liver and it backs up in the abdomen causing fluid retention there as well.  This fluid can harbor bacterial infections that kill without treatment. At which point a hospital is needed to have the fluid drained.

I hate to continue with this line of spectulation based on the facts you have provided. I'm sure your husband is a good man and you already stated you care for him very much. So to ramble on about such bad things seems pointless and cruel. I would love to offer you better and more accurate answers based on more facts. (questions I mentioned above)

I am not a medical professional in anyway, just a concerned group member with the disire to help other group members. I hope this has helped you in some way. God bless you and your husband.
Randy

Do you know if the doctor has wanted to do any further testing such as an endoscopy, ultra sound, and CT scan? If so then he would probably be testing for cirrhosis. If it is verified that he has cirrhosis then he will need to stop drinking imediately. In fact since his enzymes are already elevated he should not be drinking at all.

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1485372_tn?1359548731
Hi Randy, thanks for the chat.  My mom died of cirrhosis and she didnt drink.  She had pain in the legs from water. Next was the blood in the stomach and then death. We didnt know if was from the cirrhosis and the doctor said she had the flu and gave her water pills. I thought the leg pain was arthritis.  I didnt live near her and didnt know any better. Sad story.  My husband has had years of people telling him stop drinking but he doesnt want to.  He went to rehab once and stopped for a year and decided it wasnt fun to be sober. He drinks 24 hrs about a case per day.  He is extremely tired and when he needs to rest, it is immediately.  He is on meds for blood pressure and cholesterol.  He had a virus in his ear last year that ruined his hearing except for partial on one side.  It makes him very dizzy so he doesnt enjoy going anywhere so Im glad he has a computer.  The doctor explained the water crossing over into the stomach but the ankle swelling is new.  I have a feeling the problems are going to becoming more rapidly now.  He has days he is so dizzy he sleeps alot. I have gone thru all the emotions, anger, sympathy, ignore.  I am worried now cause I was hoping feeling bad would eventually bring in common sense but it hasnt and I dont know of anything eles to watch for.  The doctor said seizures.  He does cough cause of phlem and passes out from lack of oxygen.  Its from the smoking I guess but its not a seizure.  My mom didnt get the blood in her stomach until she was a few days from death.  I dont know if that is normal.  Im getting nervous.
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1475202_tn?1388955435
He sure likes his beers! A story all very familar to my own. Here is my story and perhaps you will see a lot of similarities. I'm 39 years old and diagnosed with Cirrhosis 03/23/10. I was always freaked out about having to go to the doctor especially since I was drinking about 23 beers a day and spending $600 a month to do so. I did this for the past 2 years straight but I have always been a heavy drinker. Liquor, wine or beer. I would only eat once a day unless I forgot. So anyways I had to go to the Doctor to get another supply of blood pressure pills to last for the year and he sent me right away for blood labs. I got my blood pressure prescriptions so I was all happy and free of having to go back again for anything other than the lab results. So I went back and Doc was reading the results and I was thinking okay hurry up it's time to get to drinking. As he got further down the list he started expressing his concerns and then he looked up at me kind of angry and disappointed and said "I bet you have Cirrhosis" then he pointed out how yellow my eyes were and my skin and said "you have jaundice".

I didn’t know what to do and I was sure getting scared, not because I was going to die but mostly because I knew I had to stop drinking so I could be here for the people that love me and need me. Not much later I went to the specialist and he confirmed that I had Cirrhosis in the very beginning of the final stage. (Stage C) After several other tests I have Grade 3 Varices, Hiatal Hernia, Umbilical Hernia and Edema along with some pretty high scores from the Lab Test.

Well here I am 11 months later, I have not drank any alcohol since 03/23/10 not even mouth wash. ha ha I didn’t hardly run into any withdraws other than a fever for a few days. Help from rehab or AA hasn't been needed. I really think God has helped me out tremendously. Most of my levels are very close to normal. Although now the latest for me is dealing with H.E. (Hepatic Encephalopathy) I seem to be greatly affected by many of the symptoms such as confusion, loss of balance, memory retention, stuttering and sleep disorder.

Randy
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1475202_tn?1388955435
I'm concerned for your husbands heath since he is not taking care of himself very well. If he has not developed cirrhosis already then im quite certain he will if he continues to cunsume a case a day. If you are sure his doctor hasn't wanted to do any further testing then I would recommend him seeing a different doctor. He should be seeing a gastroligist. That will take a regular doctor to refer him. I know his doctor has talked to him about rehab but maybe he just needs some extra motivation as to why he needs to stop for good this time. Is it possible the doctor has spoke only with him about further testing?

People die every day not ever having know they had cirrhosis. The advantage of knowing is that there are alot of things you can do to extend your life. Such as with diet and exercise and some vitamins.  Keeping away from alcohol though, remains the one and only way to live a normal long life.

You mom may have had bleeding in her stomach because when your liver is diseased it's very difficult for blood to pass through.  The Liver has a seperate blood pressure all its own compared to the blood pressure in the rest of you body. The blood pressure begins to elelavate for the liver when blood is no longer able to pass through the liver as freely as it can a heathy liver. When the pressure in your liver is high the blood backs up into the portal veins that feed organ. This will create varices (enlarged blood vessles) There are tree grades of varices, 1,2,3. Three being the largest and most dangerous. Once varices are diagnosed lifting restictions will need to be followed or it can burst causing hemoraging in the body. This in many cases is terminal.

As for your husband he could start having such a variety of symptoms such as being very tired from his liver not absorbing nutrients well anymore.  The swelling is already a sign of the disease.  Watch for the skin and or whites of his eyes to turn yellow.  The liver won't be able to process toxins safely and they might back up in his blood.  If the ammonia levels are too high he will want to sleep during the day instead of at night, he'll show signs of being confused or mentally cloudy, he might lose his balance or you'll see his body shake.  There are many more symptoms Any swelling can harbor bacteria- if at any time he gets a fever he should go straight to the emergency room.

One thing my doctor continues to tell me is that no matter what- absolutely no alcohol and don't even sniff the stuff!  I have read before and I dont know how this is calculated but 70% of people diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis will die in the first five years. Your husband needs to know that he is being offered a chance to save his own life. If he is dianosed with cirrhosis and continues to drink then the disease will progress very rapidly.
I truley hope that in some way he will realize and do whatt it takes to save his own life. Now is the time! I sure hope this will help you better understand the road he might be going down. God bless you both. If you have further questions or just need to talk feel free to send me an email. :)
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1485372_tn?1359548731
Your email was very informative.  Thank you.   My husband was told he had cirrhosis acouple of years ago.  He is not jaundice.  He is trying to eat better and somedays does ok but when he get bad heartburn, he may not eat much for two days.  when you talk to him he sounds perfectly sober.  I explained to him yesterday that after he gets the swelling from edema he may next get siezures and then he will be the bleeding inside and then death.  He said , Its 47 degrees this morning.  Thats how it goes.  I told him I just wanted him to be informed as to what is coming.   As for his sleep, he sleep one or two hrs and then gets up for couple of hours and then rest again.   Its hard to know if he had symptoms from the cirrhosis or the  COPD or the hearing loss.   I really think it may take a hospital stay and some bad discomfort to sink in.  I just hope its not too late.  He has to be in a rehab to quit because he is so bad.  Last time it took about 10 days to get him over the withdraws.  He was in rehab for one month.  He stayed sober for one year and was so happy.  He went back to drinking the day vacation started a year later.  He goes to the VA and his doctor specialized in addiction.  They did a CT scan once and a sonagram.  I would love to see if alot of the dizziness would go away if he stopped drinking.  He takes several prescriptions and I know they dont mix with alcohol.  If he would quit drinking long enough to see if it helped his dizziness, it may be enough to keep him sober. One day at a time.  
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I have a loss of balance i deal with a few times a day. This although is due to the HE. I wonder if its similar to how he feels. He Really does need to stop drinking and I hope he doesnt wait to long to stop. Some day he will reach a point where It's to late to help. I hope at that point to many toxins hasnt moved through his body and damanged other areas/organs so that maybe a liver trans plant will help. I am not sure about the rules for that type of procedure. Please post or send me an email if you have any more questions or just need someone to talk to. God bless you both!
Randy
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Beenthere33, That is an amazing story. I am diagnosed with end-stage cirrhosis stage (c) The Hepatic Encephalopathy is tough to deal with. It's great to hear a story like that. Thank you for posting it.

Bevpuppy, how things are going for your husband. It has been exactly a month today since you last wrote so I sure hope your doing alright. It would be really nice to hear from you :)
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1475202_tn?1388955435
Hello?
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1485372_tn?1359548731
Hello, my story doesnt seem to change.  I had a friend pass away this week.  We thought he had the flu and it was an infection in his body.  If your immune system is not good please dont wait to go to the doctor if you think you have the flu.  
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1475202_tn?1388955435
Bev I am very sorry to hear about your friend and thank you for the advice. I am suspicious of everything new going on.

Randy
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5039239_tn?1364028271
Can you make an appointment to the VA psycologist?? We went together and the guy was great and helped us out alot. We went for counselling, but we also discussed addiction, I believe VA has the best care for thier people. Even the regular doc was very wonerful. If your husband has anxiety issues, that could be why he's drinking, to medicate himself. We also discussed those things there and it went over extremely well. Try to get him appoinments and go in with him, they accepted me. They will help thier guys in any way they can. Please try, he has to get his blood done, his ears checked also, right?? Go with him and go in and talk. Just do it!!!
My man is retired Marine. I take him by the hand!!
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