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Health experts have identified five red-flag signs of liver cirrhosis that long-term drinkers should be vigilant about. Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to serious consequences, and recognizing these warning signs is crucial for early intervention and treatment.

Liver cirrhosis, characterized by permanent scarring that disrupts liver function, is a potential outcome of extended alcohol consumption. The condition follows stages of damage, including inflammation (hepatitis), fatty deposits (steatosis), increased stiffness, and mild scarring (fibrosis), told Gloucestershire Live.

In the early stages, individuals may not notice liver damage as their bodies adapt to reduced liver function. However, as the condition progresses, symptoms become more apparent. Cirrhosis can also be caused by primary biliary cholangitis, immune system issues, hereditary conditions, and prolonged use of specific medications.

Early red flag symptoms include:

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Tenderness or pain in the liver area
  3. Weight loss
  4. Disturbed sleep pattern
  5. Blotchy red palms
  6. Feeling unwell and tired
  7. Nausea and vomiting
  8. Spider-like capillaries on the skin

Later-stage symptoms include:

  1. Intensely itchy skin
  2. Hair loss
  3. Jaundice
  4. Abdominal swelling
  5. White nails
  6. Dark urine
  7. Trembling hands
  8. Shortness of breath
  9. Bleeding gums
  10. Frequent nosebleeds

If sensitivity to alcohol or drugs increases, it could be a sign. Five red flag signs requiring immediate medical attention are:

  1. Vomiting blood
  2. Fever with high temperatures and shivers
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Very dark or black tarry stools
  5. Periods of mental confusion or drowsiness

The British Liver Trust reports approximately 4,000 deaths from liver cirrhosis annually in Britain, with 700 people needing a liver transplant each year to survive. They emphasize that 90% of cases can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol intake, and treating and preventing hepatitis. Anyone experiencing symptoms or suspecting liver cirrhosis should consult a GP promptly.

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