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Mom diagnosed with Cirrhosis. Won't stop drinking. What to expect?...
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Cirrhosis is the end result of chronic liver damage caused by chronic liver diseases. The purpose of the community is to share support and information with Cirrhosis of the Liver patients and their loved ones. Topics in the community include: causes, clinical trials, complications, family issues, living with Cirrhosis of the Liver, prognosis, research, surgery, treatments

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Mom diagnosed with Cirrhosis. Won't stop drinking. What to expect?

My mom was diagnosed with Liver Cirrhosis in November 2011. She stopped drinking or about 7 months, but since August of 2012, she has been drinking constantly everyday (at least a 12 pack of beer). She hallucinates, her skin gets these "blood spot" type things on her arms, and her stomach looks like she is 9 months pregnant. She always says she hurts and I don't know what to do.

As someone who doesn't have a lot of info on this, what can I expect with all of this? Is she approaching the end stages? What should I look for?? She doesn't want to quit drinking and it is stressing me out as I am giving up my college career to take care of her. Thanks very much!
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I'm sorry to hear this Daniel, this has to be real hard on you to witness and not be able to get her to stop drinking. If she has cirrhosis she HAS to quit drinking period. Alcohol is like gas on a fire to a cirrhotic liver. If her stomach is bloated then her liver is already not functioning right and she may very well be approaching ESLD. Hopefully others will chime in on this but if anyway possible you should try and explain to her she HAS to QUIT DRINKING NOW... Has she been to a doctor recently? From your description of her this is EXTREMELY SERIOUS and she needs help immediately. If you can maybe you can try to get her to go to the emergency room today and hopefully it is not to late for her but this doesn't sound good Daniel.
Again I am sorry she is putting you through this too and wish you the best of luck dealing with this.
This installment-plan suicide (sorry, but that's exactly what it is) has to be heart-wrenching to witness, and you have my utmost sympathy. If she maintains this alcohol intake she will likely be dead very soon.
I'd only add this:  there are numerous accounts on these boards to bear witness:  even with ascites, if hers is alcohol-only cirrhosis (i.e. no viral hepatitis, etc), then IF she will completely stop drinking - and get on an appropriate diet, etc, there IS a chance that she can improve.  The liver is a remarkable organ.  I'm also assuming that she has no other serious health issues (since this one is plenty serious unto itself).  If she keeps on drinking, I'm sorry to say that her days are likely numbered. Please get her to a doctor or emergency room a.s.a.p- .
Thanks guys. she just doesn't care anymore. I have left college on the east coast to move back to Arizona to take care of her. I just cant do this anymore. I dread waking up to find her non responsive the next day. I don't know what to do. The doctors won't help which is why she has begun drinking again.......I'm just lost and no one seems to understand. I feel so alone in this.
Daniel, I'm sending you a P.M.

I am very sorry to hear of your mom’s condition. Your mom is showing advanced stages of decompensated cirrhosis.

“Cirrhosis of the liver consists of a chronic and progressive destruction of healthy liver tissue and replaces tissue with scarred, nonfunctioning tissue. The liver performs several hundred functions vital to the body. These include metabolizing food, fighting infection, protection from bleeding and filtering toxins. When the liver becomes severely damaged, these functions fail and symptoms arise. In beginning stage cirrhosis, the body compensates for the damage and patients remain asymptomatic. When extensive damage occurs, cirrhosis reaches the symptomatic stage, called de-compensated cirrhosis.”

Abdominal Discomfort
In end-stage cirrhosis, most patients experience some form of abdominal discomfort. "Medical Surgical Nursing" lists nausea, vomiting, indigestion, excess gas, diarrhea and abdominal pain as commonly experienced discomforts in the final stages of cirrhosis. A condition known as ascites contributes to discomfort. Ascites is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Discomforts caused by this condition include pressure, bloating, a full feeling, tightness of the skin, shortness of breath and pain- This is why she looks nine months pregnant. Treatment to remove the fluid is called “Paracentesis”. The fluid is taken out using a long, thin needle put through the belly. This fluid is then sent to a lab to test for cancer or infection. Another treatment is a low sodium diet, eating food that are low in sodium and no table salt can be very helpful. Of course all these efforts are no good if she is going to continue drinking.
Risk for Bleeding
Patients in the final stages of cirrhosis are at high risk for bruising, bleeding and hemorrhage. Blood flow in a major vein in the liver narrows and impairs blood flow. As a result, blood backs up into veins in the esophagus, stomach and intestines. These bulging veins may rupture and cause bleeding. The American Academy of Family Physicians says that 50 percent of cirrhosis patients develop these bulging veins in the esophagus. These are known as esophageal varices. The liver also aids in the clotting of blood. Damage due to cirrhosis impairs this ability, also contributing to increased risk of bleeding.- An endoscopy or EGD (scope) is used for diagnosis. Treatment for varices involve taking a Beta Blocker and avoiding strenuous activities.
Jaundice and Skin Alterations
A substance called bilirubin builds up in the body due the liver's inability to filter excess amounts. As a result, the skin and sclera of the eyes take on a yellow or orange appearance. This is known as jaundice. "Medical Surgical Nursing" also reports spider veins, bruising, dryness, itching and red or purple spots on the skin as commonly suffered by those in the final stages of cirrhosis.- This likely describes the “blood spots” you mentioned. This can also be related to a low platelet count, very common for cirrhosis.
Weakness, Fatigue, Confusion
The Merck Manual reports that fatigue and weakness occur due to malnutrition due to the liver's inability to absorb nutrients. A condition known as hepatic encephalopathy commonly affects those with end-stage cirrhosis. Hepatic encephalopathy describes a condition where toxins build up in the blood and brain due to the liver's inability to filter them. This causes drowsiness, confusion, impaired thought processes, behavior changes and eventually coma and death.
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I am glad you found us and I hope this information will help you gain a better understanding of what is going on. If she is having muscle ache she should try stretching. This will increase the blood flow to the muscles forcing out built up toxins temporarily relieving the pain. Don’t feel alone anymore, many of us here are in similar circumstances and will be more than glad to share what we have learned. I hope the best for you both and remember to take care of yourself through all of this.

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