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Re: Liver Disease

Posted By HFHSM.D.-rf on July 10, 1998 at 06:51:18:

In Reply to: Liver Disease posted by Mendoza on July 07, 1998 at 16:42:09:

My husband age 31 went to the doctor and a blood work was done.  He has been drinking heavily for about 7 years and within the past two years drinks every day (2 to 3 quarts) and more on the weekends.  His SGOT reading was 116 and SGPT was 171.  He took another test a week after and the SGOT was 93 and SGPT was 160.  The doctor says that he has an inflamation of the liver.  Can you tell me what kind of damage he has done to his liver or whether through abstinance he will be able to live a "normal" life time.  How can you tell if he has chirrosis?  He says he feels good and does not complain of any pain.  The only thing is that he does crave the alcohol (beer) but knows he should not drink.  He also thinks that having "a beer" now and then will not do any more damage to the liver.  Is that true?  I am just wondering what that reading really means.  Is he close to getting chirrosis?  Or does he have it already.  Do you have to have a biopsy to find out?  What is the SGOT and SGPT reading of someone with chirrosis?  Thanks for your help!
Dear Mendoza,
Drinking alcohol damage the liver.  The amount of alcohol necessary to produce damage varies among individuals and is dependent on factors such as body size and other medications  as well as genetic facors.  There is a spectrum of injury from reversible damage (fat deposited in the liver cells) to irreversible scarring.  Unfortunately, rhe liver enzymes by themselves can not predict the extent of damage.  Only a liver biopsy can inform physician and patient about the damage.
Any alcohol (even beer) can damage the liver.  It would be best to abstain completely from alcohol but if this is impossible, the rule of thumb is:the less alcohol taken the better.  Tell your husband that people with liver disease do not have symptoms until most of the liver has been irreversibly destroyed.  DO NOT ASSUME THAT HE IS OK MERELY BECAUSE HE DOES NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS.
Thisinformation is presented for educational purposes only.  Always consult your personal physician for specific medical questions.
*keywords: alcohol, liver cirrhosis
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