Please share if my husband is dealing with liver issues based on symptoms.

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Hello. I am posting concerned about my husband's health. He turns 49 this month.  I have a strong spiritual belief he has health problems after seeking guidance in our life in prayer.  We have been married almost 27 years and have faced many challenges along the way. He has always been a social drinker. Fun includes alcohol. He isn't a daily drinker and very seldom drank on work nights. Early in our marriage it was beer. He hurt his back and was off work for several years. Back surgery and pain pills lead to a tolerance addiction. This went on a while taking large amounts of hydrocodone. Very hard years while he was taking the pills.  He eventually realized he couldn't continue down the tolerance addiction path and sought help to come off the pills. He succeeded and never went back to them.  It wasn't long and he started drinking crown with a neighbor. His drinking pattern was the same as his beer pattern from previous years. Very seldom drinking on a work night. I have been concerned about his health for years but he always refuses to seek medical attention. Hindsight is 20/20 but I believe a lot of what i have witnessed over the years could be liver damage. The past few years have progressively gotten worse. The last year more and more. Almost as if going downhill. The past few weeks from prayer God is telling me it's his health. He has had high blood pressure and heart artery narrowing starting in his early 20's but has never followed up with a cardiologist. I've been asking him to go but he won't.  Symptoms over the last 2 years include stomach bloating, on and off nose bleeds, yellowing in his eyes, feet hurt a lot, bouts of loose stools. There has also been mental concerns and worse over the last year. Moody and irritable, but the last several months it's increased to confusion, forgetfulness and extreme fatigue that is getting worse. He also developed a decreased appetite over the last year. Many times only eating once a day or if a day he is drinking he wouldn't eat at all or after he drank. Many times over the last few months he acts in a stupor with slurred speech, even at times with this out of it stare, he will slowly drag himself around the house. Mostly staying in bed or recliner. He will say something in a confused state and not remember and has actually told me or tell me I am putting things in his head. This has been very confusing for me because when he is acting like this he is sober. I have seen behavior like that with the pain pills and depending on his level of intoxication but never sober like the last few months. His drinking has decreased some. He tells me sometimes he doesn't even feel like drinking, but then will sometimes. He can be completely normal and then have moments like this. Seems worse after he eats in the evening. Very seldom does he eat during the day at work. On his off day Monday we visiting that morning and he was fine. I go home for lunch and he ate shortly before I got there and was in the stupor almost as if I wasn't there and then was out. He drank sat evening and off and on Sunday but not to an intoxicated level. He also takes a bottle of 200 Aleve over a span every week and a half. I just recently started monitoring his aleve use. He has lots of body pains.  Please share your opinions. Could this be liver issues? Everything I have read yesterday seems like it could be but i thought asking people with real issues what they think.  I shared my concerns with him this week and he doesn't want to talk about it or go see a doctor. What do I do? Thank you. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer, & your husband's case is a complicated one.  His drinking history doesn't sound all that ominous/extreme, but alcohol & pain meds are a bad combination.  His heart issue with the narrow artery might also be a factor as some cardiac issues can cause "cardiac cirrhosis" even in those who don't drink.  

    His symptoms are certainly concerning, but if he won't go to the doctor it's difficult to guess what his actual problem is.  He may eventually become acutely ill and wind up in the hospital.  If this happens, you've got to be ready and tell his doctor he needs to look for liver issues.  Until then, I can't really imagine what you can do, except to take care of yourself and have a plan for any possibility.  

    When he's in one of his sober stupors, ask him to hold his arms straight out in front of him, palms away with fingers pointed towards the ceiling.  If he can't maintain this (fingers pointed to the ceiling) without his hands "flapping" forward, this indicates "hepatic encephalopathy", which is an indication of serious liver disease.  

    Drinkers who don't eat well can sometimes drift in and out of "Wernicke's Encephalopathy" (also known as "wet brain"wink, & a Vitamin B-Complex supplement might be helpful.  A low dose "Balanced B-50" complex taken twice a day will work much better than a higher dose supplement taken only once a day.  

    "Lecithin" (phosphatidylcholine) has been shown to help support liver function in drinking populations, but this won't cure him if his liver is badly damaged.  Eggs are rich in lecithin if he's not going to take supplements.  The lecithin is in the yolk.  

    Coffee and Tea are also known liver tonics, and anytime he can substitute these for sodas, this might be helpful. 

    Godspeed to you both, & hope he gets medical attention soon!  

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the information. The last couple of months have been very concerning for me. Each month has been a steady decline of stupor changes and personality changes. The fatigue increasing. When he drinks he can easily drink a half gallon of crown on the weekend. At his high point of his drinking before he started this steady decline he was drinking a half gallon a week.  This past weekend he didn't quite drink half of it. He had a project to do so he mostly sipped off and on. When he has a big bindge night it's a lot more. Drinks out of big yeti container. He can be fine until he crosses over after too much but it's the sober behavior that has really been changing. 

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    • Posted

      You mention coffee and tea. He has always been a coffee milk drinker out of another big style cup. He always drank Dr Pepper. I would try to get him to try tea because I always made it. Out of the blue a few years ago he started drinking tea on his own. Cut out Dr Peppers and drinks about a gallon of tea a day. 
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    • Posted

      Best way to explain some of his behavior it's like when he was taking pain pills at time or crossed over from too much crown only he is sober. Some of the mean things he will say and then not remember he said it. If I go sleep in another room then the next morning he is asking me why I went to another room. 

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  • Posted

    Half a gallon of crown over a weekend without good nutrition strongly suggests the wet brain theory (thiamine / biotin deficiency).  

    Vitamin B-Complex is essential.  Look for "Balanced B-50 Complex" at the pharmacy or make sure the B-Complex you find contains "Biotin" along with the other B-Vitamins.  3 B-Complex a day during heavy alcohol consumption may be helpful.  Best taken with meals, but any supplementation would be helpful.  

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    • Posted

      Thank you. I will get some. He also suffers low testosterone and declined his shots over 2017. Hasn't had a shot since October. He said they made the bloating worse and won't go back to the doctor for a followup appointment. 

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  • Posted

    Ahh!  A gallon of tea/day...  While tea is a good liver tonic, too much can contribute to thiamine deficiency.  Tea actually contains "anti-thiamine" compounds which inhibit absorption of dietary (or supplemental) thiamine.  Alcohol quickly burns through thiamine reserves in the body resulting in wet brain.  

    Too much caffeine also depletes "Biotin" which helps thiamine to work properly.  

    Try taking the B-Complex an hour before or well after tea or coffee consumption for best results.  I'm betting this is his problem!  

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    • Posted

      All with usually not eating anything all day. Occasionally he will get something early afternoon but it makes he feel worse and he has to finish the work day. He will come home, bathe, eat and in bed. 
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  • Posted

    Some "New Rules" for drinking might also be in order...  They don't call liquor "rot-gut" for nothing.  

    Doctors often say "alcohol is alcohol" and it doesn't matter what you're drinking, but liquor can produce profoundly high blood alcohol levels much more easily than you'd get from beer.  

    Light beer is "God's gift" to the drinking man who is not ready or willing to quit alcohol entirely, and this may buy him some time.  If you could work on a compromise with him, perhaps even having beer available in the fridge, it may help him transition to a substantially less toxic tipple.  

    If he really want's to keep drinking, he should be motivated to stay healthy with lower consumption levels.  Once he develops advanced liver disease, it will be do or die time, & no more alcohol ever.  If he can manage to remain happy with with his old friend beer, this certainly might buy him some time.  

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    • Posted

      He has changed so much since he first started taking pain pills and although he has been off the pain pills and switched to crown he has slowly gone downhill. I almost don't know the man I have know for almost 27 years. The last few months each month is a decline starting in March. Worse June and July. I can't even get him to go to the doctor and when I have brought up his drinking the last couple of months it's made him madder and he tells me I've never been capable of having fun. His drunk fun has never been fun for me. He is telling me things he has never told me in our marriage. He can be in a sober stupor standing there staring with this emotionless expression and speak in an odd monotone voice and say I don't know what is wrong with me I have never felt like this in my life. 

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    • Posted

      Both acute and chronic thiamine deficiency can cause serious and permanent problems.  Wernicke's Encephalopathy can evolve into Korsakoff Syndrome, which is permanent and disabling.  

      Do some homework on the above mentioned syndromes, & then research biotin deficiency.  Supplementing these won't work well if his belly is full of tea or coffee. Before bed, after drinking, as well as first thing in the morning may be the best time to get some thiamine & biotin into his system.  Again, a Balanced B-50 Complex (containing biotin) is the best supp to use.  

      He'll get some absorption if he can take his supps just 30 minutes before he starts into the coffee/tea.  He might also wish to experiment with reducing his coffee/tea for a week if he can to see if this helps. He should notice a dramatic improvement quite swiftly.  

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    • Posted

      So if it is that then it's typical they can be completely normal sometimes and other times completely out of it being sober. I feel like I am going crazy at times. I am not! Each month getting worse and worse. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to two different people. Even in text.  

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    • Posted

      Yes, the body uses thiamine to metabolize carbohydrates, & in a deficient person a high carb meal will produce the stupor.  This is why he can't eat at work without crumping.  

      Also, if he ever becomes seriously out of it and goes to a hospital, the doctor MUST be advised to use a "Wernicke's encephalopathy protocol".  This is known as a "banana bag" in the ER as the B-Vitamins turn the saline IV fluid bright yellow.  If a lactated ringers IV is started on a patient with Wernicke's, the sugar will cause swift progression to Korsakoff psychosis, permanently damaging the brain.  

      If he gets sick (stomach bug or flu) & stops eating for a day or more, Wernicke's can also go critical very quickly.  He really needs to get a handle on this pronto; either avoiding anti-thiamine tea & coffee, boosting thiamine intake with nutritious food or supplements (or both), & reducing alcohol.  

      A short trial should produce dramatic results within a week, & he should come out of his fog & realize what's going on.  

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    • Posted

      All of this is so new to me. I've dealt with the pain pills and drinking for so long and that was hard enough and scary. This is very bizzare. It started in December when he got the flu. For several days he acted very weird. Saw things and was more out of it then I have ever seen. Was "playing" with the cat and let the cat bite up both his arms so bad blood was all over and he didn't even know the cat was biting him. I happen to find out afterwards and didn't witness it. He had to wear long sleeves because of all the bite marks. That went away and then it's been downhill each month.  

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    • Posted

      He doesn't eat any healthy foods. Only meat, bread, rice, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Lots of sweets! Will eat a whole pie or whole box of Debbie Cakes. 

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