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01/28/2012 08:18 PM

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SKRD1965
SKRD1965  
Posts: 25
Member

Sad Hello to e1. I found this site searching for info. on Cirrhosis. I was in the ER of July 2010, was so tired and confused...almost sluggish. I felt like I was about to pass out. Blood work came back...HIGH AMMONIA levels. I have drank for along time, I am an alcholic, also married to one. Went to rehab, stayed sober for 4 months. Back to drinking again...not proud of myself! Enough rambling...I have been not been feeling very well, went to doc. lab tests done, back normal, ultrasound back normal. Yellow in the bottom of my eyes, NOT NORMAL. I have to pull my eyelid way down to see it. Discomfort where the liver is. Finger nails are white, tongue has white coating on it. Going back to dr tues. see what is next. I know I need treatment again...know I am scared, or perhaps more aware, that I shall be fighting 2 battles.
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01/29/2012 07:33 AM
dmanflan
dmanflan  
Posts: 1734
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Hey SKRD1965!

Welcome to the group! I think you really know what is happening and what you need to do to start feeling better again. Your drinking, just as mine did, is causing liver problems. Until a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist checks you out properly you won't be able to know to what degree the alcohol has damaged your liver. Regular and excessive alcohol consumption does harm the liver. The first part of feeling better is to quit drinking—FOREVER!!!

I suggest your wife do the same—it is usually easier to accomplish a goal with someone else that experiences similar problems. She will likely continue on the same path to liver issues if she continues to drink. The liver is a remarkable organ that can recover if the cause of liver issues is corrected (i.e., you stop forcing it to handle excessive amounts of alcohol). Excessive use varies for everyone—could be as little as a glass or two of wine every night.

Some doctors may not even treat you for liver problems until you demonstrate a commitment to become and stay sober. Once you make the commitment to stop drinking, seek out the proper specialist to deal with your liver issues. You may need to get a referral from your primary care physician (PCP) to get an appointment and to satisfy your insurance. If your Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) progresses to cirrhosis, you should definitely try to connect with a hepatologist, who is a doctor that specializes in all things related to the liver.

Again, welcome to the group!!! I recommend that you read through all the posts and diaries on this group and see just how bad liver disease can get. Learn about all the complications and treatments. Education is key so that you recognize what can happen to you and be able to deal with problems as they come up.

Dennis


01/29/2012 08:18 AM
dmanflan
dmanflan  
Posts: 1734
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Oops! Just viewed your picture and realized that I have my genders flipped in my previous response. Sorry!!! I'll do better in future posts!

Dennis


01/29/2012 10:03 AM
MoonWatcher
MoonWatcherPosts: 733
Member

Hello SKRD1965 and welcome...

When you see the doc on Tuesday be sure and ask him to include a "ferritin" iron test in any blood work you have done. Iron studies aren't normally included in blood work and this may uncover and additional angle to your illness.

I'm an old drinker (55) who's ran into some trouble myself, now sober for nearly a year. I felt awful for many months after I quit drinking, and after eons of time scouring the internet came across the subject of iron overload due to alcoholism.

Look Here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/ 090217125337.htm

I had been a blood donor in the past, and went down to the blood bank for a "deposit", after which "my malaise" I had been under lifted like a fog. I had donated a couple more times before I got back to my doc for an iron study, and my ferritin was still nearly 100. Not dangerously high by normal medical standards (doc's don't start to worry until it's over 200), but from what I'd read on the combined effect of iron and alcohol on the liver, seemed to be something I could work on, as blood donation is a cheap and easy way to dump excess iron. Young healthy people normally have ferritin around 20 to 60 and that's where I want to be.

Your GP may poo-poo this iron angle, but the guru's of hepatology know better. Be sure and ask for a copy of the actual result as your GP will call anything under 300 "normal", and this standard is used only for a hemochromatosis diagnosis, not an optimal healthy value.

By abstaining from alcohol and dumping excess iron, my health has improved greatly in the past year, although I still have palmar erythema and vascular eruptions (spider nevi) on my chest.

God willing, I hope whatever I have going on will slow to a point where I can put a couple more decades of life under my belt before I check out.

Best of Luck to you next week, and GodSpeed!

Post edited by: MoonWatcher, at: 01/29/2012 10:24 AM


01/29/2012 10:40 AM
SKRD1965
SKRD1965  
Posts: 25
Member

Thank you for the welcome. And yes you are correct in saying I know what i have to do, in order to feel better..STOP POISONING myslef with any more BEER! I shall continue to read over posts. Thank you Dennis

01/29/2012 11:07 AM
SKRD1965
SKRD1965  
Posts: 25
Member

Hi MoonWatcher, thank you for the welcome. I shall indeed mention that to the Doctor. I had no idea about the iron level being such a factor. I am 46 and have been drinking pretty much for 2o LONG years. I have a lot of emotions going on right now, one is anger, being mad at myself. Anyway..thank you for responding and welcoming me to this group. i wish you all the very best of health.

01/29/2012 01:53 PM
MoonWatcher
MoonWatcherPosts: 733
Member

Thank you and your welcome!

Females of child bearing age generally don't have problems with excess iron unless they have been taking iron supplements, have had a hysterectomy at a relatively young age, or have hemochromatosis (frequently goes un-noticed until middle age), but as the "Holy Grail" of surviving liver disease is to STOP the progression, I would leave no stone unturned.

Leaving alcohol was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I was surprised to find there is life after alcohol, and it ain't all that bad. The anger, depression, and generally feeling miserable, lasted about 3 months, but is now but a distant memory.

An alcohol support group really helped me.

Post edited by: MoonWatcher, at: 01/29/2012 02:01 PM


01/29/2012 06:38 PM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

SKRD1965,

The others gave you good advice. But i did want to add that if you smoke it will also increase your Iron Levels. It's called "Secondary Polycythemia" The treatment is of course stopping smoking and phlebotomy It can also increase the risk for hepatic vein thrombosis.

1


01/29/2012 06:58 PM
SKRD1965
SKRD1965  
Posts: 25
Member

Hi MPMOM and thank you for more info. MoonWatcher, I totaly typed my heart out while ago and my lovely ISP decided it did not want to work. Congrats on your sobriety and the hard work you have put in to being sober. I have a long way to go, thus far no beer tonight for me! Which is a small step, a step though! I was wondering if anyone else has other questions that I ned to ask my GP on Tues. as I stated my lab results all came back within normal range and the ultrasound was good. Perhaps get a MRI or CT scan. I am trying to write a list down. I will mention the Ferritin Iron test, and yes I smoke :/ cigs...I just am trying to take it one day at a time and one step at a time. All so very overwhelming. TIA and big hugs to you all!

01/29/2012 08:51 PM
MoonWatcher
MoonWatcherPosts: 733
Member

On my ultrasound, the radiologist did not "size" the portal vein, spleen or liver, and I've read this is important. I don't know if there are different kinds of ultrasound or if the doc issuing the order has to request sizing of the anatomy, but you might ask about this.

Also, I've read about a "doppler ultrasound" that can indicate blood flow through the portal vein. A slowing of flow indicates resistance (fibrosis) which would be an indication for further tests like MRI or CT.

Don't know what labs your doc ordered, but A "full metabolic panel" (FMP) is a blood test that should include a lot of information your doctor will need. This should cover everything except iron/ferritin which never seems to be included in anything and must be requested separately.

I've read "globulins" are raised in alcoholic liver disease, while albumin tends to drop... Albumin level is always supposed to be higher than globulins, and when the "A/G" ratio inverts, this is a sign of alcoholic liver disease. Your doc should be able to calculate the A/G ratio from the full metabolic panel, but he might want to request this calculation in the test.

The full metabolic panel will also show MCV (mean corpuscular volume) and in liver disease this tends to be high. The FMP should also show the difference in size between the largest and smallest corpuscles and in liver disease this spread tends to be wide. Low platelets (included in the FMP) also may indicate liver disease.

A full uninalysis should also be done.

To check your ammonia, you would have to go to a hospital or other facility where they can run blood gasses immediately after the blood is drawn. I wouldn't worry about this right now unless you've got HE symptoms. If the labs from the FMP and/or ultrasound come back abnormal there will be plenty of time for more tests.

Be sure and show him your white nails and any broken blood vessels on your chest or face, or redness on the palms of your hands, and tell him about the pain in your side.

Be honest with him about your drinking and tell him you need something to help withdraw from alcohol safely.

I hope things turn out OK for you.

Regarding the swearing off alcohol, you need to be sure you don't run into troubles with withdrawal (seizures). Some Librium will probably be prescribed. Until you can start on this, you may not want to go cold turkey. You should be able to drop down to 50% of your normal daily intake safely, (but then I'm not a doc!). Tapering down for a few days will also make your detox a lot easier.

Also... No one should ever detox from alcohol without supplementing vitamin B-Complex. A thiamine deficiency during detox can cause permanent brain damage. A low dose "Balanced B-50" taken 2 or 3 times a day is much better than a high dose taken once a day.

Mind how you go, and stay safe!

Best of luck to you!

Post edited by: MoonWatcher, at: 01/29/2012 09:31 PM

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