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Avatar universal

alcoholism and liver,kidney problems

I have been a heavy drinker of light ber all my life  I am 65 now.  Only problems in the past were sometimes headaches that last a long time.  I have been getting some very slight pain on my right lover back and strted to worry about kidneys.  It comes and goes but i very light.  I am goig to get a physical and decided it is time to quit drinking. In the past 3 months I have drank extra heavy and substituded beer for food    My weight has been relatively steady  all my life but his past few weeks have lost about 8 pounds which has worried me a lot.  Can substuting beer for food make a person loose weight?  I dont have any other symptoms  except my wife has told me that my breath has a very different smell.   I have decided to stop drinking and know it is going to b hard because I love the tast of bud light.  I just wonder if any of my symptoms are anything that points to lover or kidney problems.  I guess whr weight thing and the breath are my bigest concerns.  I know it is time to quit.
29 Responses
703031 tn?1398966907
Good for you for deciding to quit!  I don't know much about kidney and liver problems but can give you insight into a few things that I hope will help you.  1)  The pain in your back could be your kidney or kidney stones or your liver.  2) Substituting all meals for alcohol will result in weight loss initially.  3)As for your breath, it smells different how?  If it is sweet, that could be in indication of diabetes.

My biological father drank himself to the grave at the age of 34.  Please, please get help!  Deciding you need to quit is the first step.  Talk to your doctor about your health concerns and get into some type of program.  I wish you the best of luck!
Avatar universal
thanks for the reply    I will ask my wife how my breath is different.   I am going to get blood work done this week and have a physical friday.  The pain in my lower back sides is promarely on the left side, and I feel it is do to drinking because if I drink extra heavy I get more feeling the next day . Sometimes I have to decrease the lumbar setting in my auto seat .  I have been wondering if a physical can tell if I have any damage that cant be revirsed.  I have always been very active and by that could drink a lot during the course of an entire day.
1475202 tn?1536274577
All you need is blood work to start with and your doctor will know how your liver is doing and your kidneys. It's very likely you damaged your liver, so be prepared to hear that. To what degree is the amount of damage be your biggest concerns. Make sure you do not miss this appointment. I usually would never suggest to someone that they have liver damage but considering your age and how long you have been drinking I feel it’s almost a certainty. Early stages of cirrhosis are reversible. This is another reason why this appointment is so important to keep. Depending on your test results you will most likely be told you need to stop drinking for the rest of your life. There can never be any exceptions.

Weight loss is common amongst alcoholics. You must start eating all your meals. when the body is malnourished it will begin to break down muscle to get the nutrients it needs for survival. This will cause loss of strength and muscle mass hence weight loss. Your liver is working very hard for you due to everything you are demanding it to do. Without the proper nutrients you are further damaging your liver.

I have one last very important thing to tell you. When people are diagnosed with end stage cirrhosis they are usually under the impression that they are going to die soon so when they leave the doctors they figure why quit now, so 6 months or so later they are gone. This is not true, after your diagnosis the most important thing you can do for yourself is to quit drinking. It is possible to keep on surviving with the right medicines and vitamins and exercise. You are on the right track. stick with your plan! Your life is worth saving.

Diagnosed 3-23-10 end stage cirrhosis (C)

Randy
Avatar universal
Thankyou very much for the information  At this point all I have told the doctors office is that I wanted a physical.  They are mailing me paperwork to get blood work.  Do you think that the blood work will give an indication if I need any further testing?   I have drank an offel lot of light beer in my lifetime , I guess I thought that I was bullett proof.  We have had a lot of cancer in my family and my brother died of Pancreatic cancer a couple years ago.  I know early detection is very inportant with cancer,that is why I wonder if I should try to get a scan.   My unusual breath is worrying me, It is not from personal hygiene and wife cant describe it except that it is not what it used to be.  The disconfert that I was feeling has left.  I stopped drinking for only two days now.  This has got me very worried .  Once again thankyou
Avatar universal
I just wanted to add that I did bloodwork with a physical about a year ago and everything was ok at that point.
1475202 tn?1536274577
Thats great to hear you have already stopped drinking. Are you having any withdrawl sysmptoms? I thought i was bullet proof also my friend. I was drinking 23 beers a day and much like you I would drink all day long. I would eat once a day unless I forgot. Your having normal blood labs one year ago is great news. Also the blood work will indicate if further testing is needed. I really hope the best for you and your family. I stopped drinking just like you. No rehab or AA. withdrawls can become very dangerous so keep a close eye on them and allow your wife to watch you. AA is reccomend for most alcoholics. It seems like most of the people I have talked to in these forums have gone to AA or still go. They say it really helps them not give into temtation. Also drinking light beer only helps with the calories it still has the same amount or alcohol. Its the alcohol that damages your body. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your doctor to go over the lab results.

Randy
Avatar universal
I have only stoped for 2 days and I know after a week or so I will b looking for some beer.  I have opened up with my wife, I used to hide how much I drank from her. before I retired I drank about a case a week ,I have been retired 4 yrs now and have been drinking more.  sometimes 10 to 12  a day.  I guess I have been doing that for about a year.  I do have that tast a little and son very slight disconfert in my lower back  How do you determine the stage of progress and from my symptoms do u think I am in a later stage?
Avatar universal
I tried AA several years ago and it was not for me  I will have to do this alone although I know it is going to be hard.If I eat and dont get hungry  that helps a lot.  Do you feel anything and does a good diet and maybe medication help?  I red that milk thissle was good for the liver, is that good to take as a supplement?   I just got back from going to the store and sitting in the car I could feel some tightness in my lower right side.  Did you ever notice your breath change?
Avatar universal
How long has it been since you discovered your condition?  How are you doing and do you have to make regular visits to the doctor.  Will the liver ever repair itself any.
1475202 tn?1536274577
Milk thistle is very popular for patients with liver disease to take. I take it as well. I don’t know if it helps but I do know that it doesn’t hurt. Patients with early stages of cirrhosis normally don’t have any physical side effects. It’s the beginning of the final stage that symptoms will manifest. This is why having your annual physical is very important. The blood test will show right away if you are having problems. I’m really glad you were tested a year ago. I wish I were able to give you a diagnosis but there is no way to tell until your blood labs have been taken. Have you seen in yellow coloration in the whites of your eyes of skin? This is something to watch for. When the bilirubin level escalates high enough jaundice will appear in the eyes and skin. This is a sure sign that your liver is in trouble. This is not a stage you ever want to wait and get to. A good diet and medication is very important to people with cirrhosis. Vitamins and exercise are also critical. Your doctor will help you sort out everythink you need.

I was diagnosed 13 months ago. I was 38 yrs old. Things for me are going fine, my liver is still healing. Problem is that once my liver has healed as much as it can will I have enough of a good liver to keep surviving with out a transplant? Is there to much scarring? I see the doctor for testing every two – three months. If you ever have any more questions please feel free to ask. I would love to help.

Randy
Avatar universal
Thankyou Randy very much.  You have been very helpfull.    I am very suprised you got this so early in life,I dont think you could have drank any more than I did.  What made you go to have a physical.  I have been wondering if every time blood work is done for a physical or a patient , are things checked to tell the condition of the liver.  I have told the doctor that I drank a lot but not exactly how mych,I was too embarased.  I dont have any symptomes now except the unusuall breath that is not from hygiene.    This will be my 3 rd day  no beer.  I have been trying to eat a lot but still dont have a good appetite.    I dont have any yellowing yet ,that I can see. Is that something that will eventually appear with time?   Have you had any scans?       I know it is going to be hard to stop drinking  but I feel that continuing to consume alcohol could make things progress faster.     I am having a hard time sleepomg because of thinking about this all the time.
1475202 tn?1536274577
You are very welcome. I'm glad I can help. You are going to need to come clean with your doctor about how much you actually drink and how often. I understand feeling embarrassed. When it comes to your health your doctor can better help you the more honest you are. They are on your side, that’s their job. You are paying them to help you not judge you.

That’s great about making it three days! We all know how difficult that is to do. Think of it this way, it doesn't get any harder than this. as time passes it will continue to get easier. When I first quit drinking I had a very difficult time getting to sleep. I would lay there for 2 and 3 hours. After about a week or so this will go away. I think it's being use to having the alcohol to relax you or even help you just pass right out.

Your appetite will return to normal. Give it time. Now that you have stopped drinking you will not get jaundice. Your liver has already began trying to heal whatever damage has been done. Let’s just hope it's minimal.

I know this is very hard to deal with all this alone. Make sure you communicate with your wife about everything and with her support it really will make things easier for you. Also be sure to thank her every once in a while. It took me a while to realize that she is going through allot of the same thing I am. I do my best to teach my wife things that she might need to know if something should happen to me. I started doing this right away and now I’m confident she can take care of herself. I guess I didn’t have much to teach her! ha ha

You are going to be fine my friend, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s the very first thing that must be done. You’re on the right track!

Randy
Avatar universal
Hi   Thanks for the information   just got back , took wife to beach and rode bikes and had a sanwitch.  Normally would have had 4to 6 beers by this time of day and try to keep her from knowing the number.      I sincerely hope your liver is getting better,  is it still improving?     It sure has helped to hear from someone like you with your knowledge.  I will tell the doc how much I have been drinking,  lately for some time it has been around 8 to 12 a day.  I didnt know for sometime how much until we started keeping the al cans for recicycleing. Each week i could see how much I drank,  I would put things over the cans so wife could not see them.  I love the smell and tast of beer   hot or cold,  I know it is going to be very hard to get that out of me.  I have an open case and I hate to throw it away but know I need to.  
1475202 tn?1536274577
When I quit drinking I gave away 3 1/2 30 packs. the store wouldnt lt me take them back!
1475202 tn?1536274577
Hi Chuck, I just wanted to check in on you and see how you are doing? I hope your hanging in there good. You’re a very strong willed person to be able to give up drinking  just like that! I was there once before and I made it, and so can you! Just give it a couple of weeks and you will be feeling 10 years younger and saving money!

I hope your back and side aren't giving you too much trouble. Do you know yet when you will be seeing a doctor to go over your lab results? I just also thought of something else. when you meet with your doctor ask if you may obtain a copy of your results. They will give you one free of charge. Take the copy home and place it in a folder. From then out always ask for a copy of any testing you have done. It can be helpful down the road to be able to refer back to these. I hope the best for you my friend. If anytime down the road you feel uncomfortable about discussing your health here in the forum, Medhelp offers Private messaging or email. God Bless you and your family.

Randy
Avatar universal
Hi  Randy     I am doing fine so far.  I had my bood tested yesterday and will go to the doctor friday morning for the results. I think it is good to keep a record and I am going to ask for a copy, that is a good idea.  My side and lower  back feel okey except when I am driving in the car.  I get a low level pain in that area still and I know it must to be my swelling  liver or kidney , I dont know how to tell the difference. I bought some milk thissle yesterday.  It was only aboyt $15 for a good size bottle and directions want me  to take 2 cap.  every day before meals.  I am starting to get my apetite back .  I am very concerned as to the outcome of  fridays appointment.  I have been trying to keep things out of my mind but feel empty inside.   Thankyou for the help , it has been so good to talk to someone , I will let you know friday as to the results.  I hope things there are going ok,  I know you have a lot to deal with also.  Take care
Avatar universal
Hi Randy  I have been reading a lot of the things on here about cirrhosis and the more I read the more confused i get .  I guess I get more worried the closer to friday I get.  My breath smell has subsided a lot but is faint and still thair  My wife sayes.  Hav you ever heard anyone with a changing breath that this disease caused. Also I can sometimes feel a little disconfert in my right side.  Do symptomes of this disease vary a lot?  Also I read that if diagnosed with this  5 years is a max time that one can expect to have a normal life. But then again I read that the liver can correct itself.  I know I have damaged my liver and it is just beginning to show up  as symptomes.  What symptomes did you have?
1475202 tn?1536274577
Ammonia is one thing I am aware of to change your breath. Here's how it works. Once the liver has been damaged it loses the ability to filter all the toxins out of the blood stream. Toxins such as ammonia and manganese once they enter the blood stream they travel to ever organ in the body slowly causing damage to the organs that are not capable of healing or regenerating themselves like the liver can do. The blood also reaches the brain and causes certain permanent and temporary brain damage. This can lead to Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE).

However not all patients with high ammonia levels will be diagnosed with HE. It is unclear why some patients are not affected yet others become terminal  to a point of coma. More research is needed. Cirrhosis is a very complicated disease to know and understand. Most of this is due to the lack of research but there are many patients who have lived a fully functional life regardless of the statistics. I plan to be one of them! With cirrhosis there are allot of factors that play a role and also many of the sites you research the information is no longer credible. I have spoken with man cirrhotic patients who have made it longer than 5 years. the most important thing to do is stop drinking immediately.

Diabetes is another disease I have heard of to make the breath change. Since I am not diabetic I don’t know much about this. Chuck if your test result are really bad its more likely the DR. office will call to tell you .

Randy
Avatar universal
Hi once again thanks  I called the doctors office today and my blood work is there. I asked the lady when My last blood work was done and she said exactly one year ago . I asked how this test looked and she said ok  but I dont think she knew what to look for and would not tell me anyway.  Sinse I have stopped drinking my breath has got a lot better  but wife sayes it is still noticable. It is not amonia I dont think.  I know I am probably being a pain to you and I am sorry.  This sure has put the scare in me.  I wonder  how far this could progress in one year.
1475202 tn?1536274577
Chuck, in my last post I neglected to tell you that the ammonia level can make your breath have a sweet or musty smell. Not that it will smell like ammonia. Sorry I totally left that part out. I’m gonna have to blame that on my HE like I do every time I don’t do something my wife asks. ha ha Yes the receptionist isn’t allowed to give out medical information. You must hear it from the nurse practitioner or the Doctor. Hopefully things are not bad. I sure know what it’s like to lay awake worrying about this stuff and I remember just having a hard time sleeping going to bed sober is bad enough in the beginning.

Chuck let’s hope and pray everything comes back great and make sure to learn from it man. If only I would've been more like you when I first started having problems I wouldn't be in the situation I’m in today. All the warnings from doctors over the years. I've been given the death sentence a few times before I was finally diagnosed. I was being selfish about my health not realizing what it means to the people that love me. Very sad but I think this is probably a common thing for alcoholics. I’m very grateful for those who stuck around! What’s wrong with them huh? Ha ha jk

As far as the progression of cirrhosis they are way too many variables. Most of which will be determined by the actions of the patient. This will help in deciding how much time a patient has left. A person with alcoholic cirrhosis must commit to never ever drinking again under any circumstances. I often think of it as how many months of healing can drinking one beer destroy?

I enjoy sharing what I have learned about cirrhosis just like how others helped me when I was trying to figure this whole thing out. I still spend hours a day reading and learning about my disease as it is my responsibility to take my health into my own hands. In order to help my doctor make the best decisions for me. So that I can continue to be here for the crazy people that love me!

Randy
Avatar universal
Hi Randy  My physical is 10  30 am tomorrow.    I am worried and look back  thinking how stupid I was  thinking I could not hurt my body except a headach or hangover ocasionally.  I have to say I am feeling better even for the few days without alcohol.   Did you have symptomes  and for how long?  Did you ever get that breath that I have indicated.  That is what got me thinking I had a problem   My wife complaining about it.  I wonder if that is an indication of alcoholic hepatitus or cyrossis.  Do you feel any pain in your side now.  Thankyou for all your help
1475202 tn?1536274577
Chuck I made a post last night in the liver disorders forum. I wonder if this might be part of the problems you have. you should have an email conserning the post. I have pain only in my left side and this is due to my spleen being enlarged.
Avatar universal
Hi Randy  I dont have much pain in my left side  mostly it is in the very lower part of my back and very low  higher than the belt area.  It is on my right side.  the pain is very low grade
1475202 tn?1536274577
Chuck I thought the same as you man. I thought well my uncle was in his 90's when he past and he always drank and my mom in her 60's does too. So i actually thought i was going to be just fine. Thats why I ignored all the warnings from doctors telling me I was gonna die. I just felt angry everytime one of them would say it to me and I would just think to myself "well so are you fat *ss". ha ha Thats aweful isn't it.

I dont have any problems with pain in my back, so I've been wondering if you might have a kidney stone or something. Your kidneys are located just above the hip, one on each side. Well they should be able to give you alot of information at your appointment tomorrow. I sure hope the best for you! :)

Randy
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