Change in belly may be early telltale sign of fatty liver disease

Lee Ryan opens up about alcoholism on Loose Women in 2019

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Excessive drinking has several health risks. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are all made more likely by drinking too much alcohol. Fatty liver disease – which kills thousands a year – is also a risk. The condition is far easier to recover in its early stages, so it’s important to be aware of the first signs that may appear.

Most of the alcohol you drink is broken down by your liver so it can be removed from the body.

But the process can damage your liver as harmful substances are produced. It also leads to the build-up of fat.

The signs of a struggling liver can pop up all over the body. Frequent headaches, heartburn, and losing weight for no apparent reason can be symptoms.

But, according to one expert – you might feel some changes in your abdomen.

Gillian May, a former nurse explained on her blog that bloating “will start to increase”.

Other symptoms that people might recognise include nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhoea.

Family First Intervention explained that when liver damage “creeps up”, the body “stops being able to digest food”.

It said: “The body stops being able to digest food, remove impurities, filter toxins from the blood and send nutrients where they need to go.”

The health body suggests that a “strange urinary smell after eating asparagus” is another sign you might get.

The early signs, however, may be hard to notice if at all, according to the NHS.

The NHS explained that “ARLD [alcohol-related liver disease] does not usually cause any symptoms until the liver has been severely damaged”.

But it can be diagnosed using tests. That’s why the NHS recommends
people who drink regularly should tell their GP who can check if the liver is damaged.

If it isn’t detected through a test, then it is often only spotted at a later stage when the disease shows more intense signs.

The more noticeable signs that you could experience include feeling sick, jaundice, weight loss, loss of appetite, confusion or drowsiness, and vomiting blood or passing blood in your stools.

There’s no dedicated medicine for alcohol-related fatty liver disease but stopping drinking can halt the damage and improve the chances of recovering, describes the NHS.

Introducing a healthy diet can help too. Medlineplus suggests “limiting salt and sugar, plus eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains”.

The health body also suggests regular exercise to help you “reduce fat in the liver”.

If your liver is left to deteriorate further – you can develop cirrhosis – which has a risk of death.

Cirrhosis is when so much damage has been done that your liver becomes notably scarred.

People often require a liver transplant to survive cirrhosis.

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