Home / Blog / How Long Before an Alcoholic Has Liver Cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is a complication of many liver diseases characterized by abnormal structure and function of the liver. The diseases that lead to cirrhosis do so because they injure and kill liver cells, after which the inflammation and repair that is associated with the dying liver cells cause scar tissue to form. The liver cells that do not die multiply to replace the cells that have died.
This results in clusters of newly-formed liver cells (regenerative nodules) within the scar tissue. There are many causes of cirrhosis including chemicals (such as alcohol, fat, and certain medications), viruses, toxic metals (such as iron and copper that accumulate in the liver as a result of genetic diseases), and autoimmune liver disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the liver.
What are the Stages of Liver Cirrhosis?
Stage 1 cirrhosis involves some scarring of the liver, but few symptoms. This stage is considered compensated cirrhosis, where there are no complications.
Stage 2 cirrhosis includes worsening portal hypertension and the development of varices.
Stage 3 cirrhosis involves the development of swelling in the abdomen and advanced liver scarring. This stage marks decompensated cirrhosis, with serious complications and possible liver failure.
Stage 4 cirrhosis can be life-threatening and people have developed the end-stage liver disease (ESLD), which is fatal without a transplant.
How Long Before an Alcoholic Has Liver Cirrhosis?
It may take 10-30 years for cirrhosis to develop. Liver cirrhosis is one of the leading causes of death in the US and chronic alcoholism is one of the main leading causes of cirrhosis. Initially, individuals suffering from chronic alcoholism are often not aware of liver damage as they are asymptomatic in the early stages. Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease and usually takes years to develop. The development of cirrhosis differs from person to person and depends on various factors such as genetics, individual metabolism, food habits, and other health conditions. 10-20% of patients with chronic alcoholism develop cirrhosis.
What are the Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis?
According to NIH, you may have no signs or symptoms of cirrhosis until your liver is badly damaged. Early symptoms of cirrhosis may include feeling tired or weak, poor appetite, losing weight without trying, nausea and vomiting, and mild pain or discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen. As liver function gets worse, you may have other symptoms, including bruising and bleeding easily, confusion, difficulties thinking, memory loss, personality changes, or sleep disorders, swelling in your lower legs, ankles, or feet, called edema, bloating from buildup of fluid in your abdomen, called ascites, severe itchy skin, darkening of the color of your urine, and a yellowish tint to the whites of your eyes and skin, called jaundice.
How can Recreate Life Counseling Help with Alcoholism?
At Recreate Life Counseling treatments are designed with respect for our client’s core values. We understand that believe in our clients and we help with the journey of recreating themselves and their lives. Here in Boynton Beach, Florida, we will create an individualized treatment program that meets the needs of each client so that the vision they have for their lives can become a reality. We are constantly updating our theories and methods to avoid ineffective methods from the past.
Our outpatient and partial hospitalization rehab will accommodate the daily responsibilities of our clients without interfering with their work, school and family obligations. Our clients will be able to discuss rehab options that best fit their needs. We walk them through the entire recovery process. We don’t just treat the addiction because we assess the person a whole. We encourage that you talk to one of our team experts in substance abuse to answer all your questions about getting help for yourself or an addicted loved one.