One of my best friend’s father died from end stage alcoholism. His liver finally just shut down. He was only 54 at the time. What makes this even sadder is that even though he knew he was dying, he still drank every day until he passed away at home.
For the longest time when I thought of an alcoholic, I thought about their family. In my mind a alcoholic was a violent person who beat their family. I thought about the beatings that might have been handed out. I never really thought about what the alcoholic was doing to their body. Up until my friends father, I never knew anyone who died from alcoholism. I knew plenty alcoholics but I never knew the damage it could do to your body.
Some of the more common problems in end stage alcoholism deal with your liver. There is fatty liver which is a build up of fat in your liver cells. There is also alcoholic liver disease or Cirrhosis of the liver. Alcoholic cirrhosis can happen after over a decade of drinking. With cirrhosis of the liver, scar tissue starts to replace normal and healthy tissue. This scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver which means it will not work as it should. Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death by disease.
A majority of the time there is no symptoms of Cirrhosis in the early stages but as time goes on and you continue to drink you may start experience exhaustion, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and spider like blood vessel on your skin. As the disease progresses and your liver loses more and more of its healthy tissue you may find yourself experiencing jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes and occurs when the liver does not absorb enough bilirubin. You might also start bruising and bleeding easier because you liver is not producing enough proteins needed for blood clotting.
Another complication that comes from Cirrhosis is the risk of toxins in the blood or even the brain. Your liver can not remove the toxins from the blood and it can travel to your brain. The risk of toxic build up could be fatal if it is not treated. These are just some of the complications that can come from cirrhosis.
One of worst things about liver damage is that it can not be reversed. Cirrhosis can not be reversed. Once the damage is done, it is done. The good news is you can stop or at least prolong further progression and ease some of the complications. In order to do that, you would simply have to stop drinking. For some people, it is not that easy. This is the reason why most people in end stage usually wind up dead. They literally drink themselves to death and their liver can not handle it anymore.