I am a 50 year old male, who has is beginning to face the reality of mid-life. I have a history of anxiety, so I am not sure how to process my concerns. I am hoping you can help.
Two years ago, due to abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits, I was sent for an ultrasound. Test showed "fatty infiltration of liver" with "no acute findings." Liver enzymes were all within normal ranges (and an insurance blood test two years before that was the same). On a return visit to my gastroenterologist I asked if I should abstain from alcohol and was told that moderate drinking was OK. For the following two years I have been a one-per-day drinker, either wine or liquor. Only occasionally, once every one to three weeks, I would have two drinks and very seldom more than that.
However, my greatest concern is previous alcohol use and the damage it may have done to my liver. From 1987 to 2008, I did not drink daily, but on approximately 10 occasions per year, I would drink up to four or more beers (on trips away from home), like a college student might drink on the weekend. My gastroenterologist does not know all this detail, as I reported being a one drink per day consumer. I have never had cravings for alcohol and have just stopped drinking even socially or moderately at home. The interim periods between episodes brought no desire to drink. Therefore, there has never been a chemical dependency to alcohol in my life. The last few years drinking one (or occasionally two) alcoholic beverages has been more of a habit than anything else.
My questions are:
1. What is the likelihood that my fatty liver was caused by alcohol use? If so, won't it go away now that I have stopped drinking completely?
2. Is there follow-up (other than complete cessation of alcohol) that needs to be done?
3. What is the prognosis given absence of alcohol from this point forward?
4. What can I do to reverse damage done or be sure it does not progress?
Please help me. I am feeling a great deal of anxiety about this, which is likely brought on by an upcoming move to another state away from our children. I do not want my new employer to ever know of my history. What should I do prior to moving that would answer my questions or resolve my concerns?
My mother who never had alcohol has stomach problems all the time going from doc to doc with no lasting result or clear answer. Her problems are caused by anxiety and depression. That's the only culprit, nothing else. No spicy foods or alcohol.
I think that you have absolutely nothing about which to be concerned - but if you're unsure, just have your doctor draw a liver panel (a simple blood test)...to put your mind at ease. With your modest drinking history and relatively young age it is extremely UNLIKELY that you have done any permanent liver damage -
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