Posted 1/30/2016 8:29 AM (GMT -7)
Welcome to the Healing Well Liver forum. We are a group of patients and their loved ones who are affected by many kinds of liver disease. Though there are many causes for liver disease, the course of the disease is quite the same whether it is from alcohol, fatty liver, viruses, or various poisons, or even Auto Immune Hepatitis, where your own body attacks the liver.
I will assume from your post that you live in the UK (or perhaps AU, not 100% sure). The weight measurement stones is different that the US where I live and we measure in pounds.
Their health system is a bit hard on alcoholics, won't do much while the patient is actively drinking. I have heard on posts here that the patient needs to demonstrate an intention to live a sober life by actually being sober for a year. That can be hard.
It IS likely he has liver damage, but only the doctors and the tests could confirm that. When the AST/ALT tests are quite close to each other, the cause can be many things. When they are both high, and one much higher than the other, alcohol is the suspected cause.
My partner had 3 things going on with his liver: alcoholism, Hep C, AND liver cancer. He was a sick man and needed to quit drinking for 6 months (the UNOS requirement for transplant). He decided he wanted to live after many years of loving the bottle more than his own life. He has been sober since fall 2010. Post Transplant, Post Hep C, and of course the liver tumor was removed with that old cirrhotic liver.
It is amazing, but a person can live quite a long time while actively drinking. My partner was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2003 and told if he were to be sober, he could easily live 15 years with that old liver. He did that for a while, but went back to his old ways and completely destroyed his liver in half the time.
Mike always figured he was dying anyway, might as well die happy. But happy he was NOT. The advanced stages of liver disease are quite unpleasant. They can have uncontrolled bleeding from mouth, nose or with the stool if a vein breaks. (If that happens, call the emergency medics right away.) Those with advanced liver disease don't clot well. They can have changes in mood and temperament...they call this hepatic encephalopathy...where the waste products don't leave the body since the liver cant process them, and the chemicals created go to the brain and cause the changes. Mike was horrible, very aggressive, ugly, mean, etc. Watch for that. Sometimes they gather fluid in the belly, called ascites. This can be drained. You mentioned he gained weights, it could be that. Etc Etc.
I don't mean to frighten you. And I need to share with you that the spouses, children, parents are pretty much helpless. Only the patient can decide to change their ways. We recommend AA for the alcoholic and Alanon or Alateen for the families. Mike needed to go to AA for 6 months, have his calendar signed by a group leader each time, and had an alcohol blood test once a week for that 6 months. Very regimented. Some go to counselors instead.
We are sorry to hear that so far, he has not decided to live a sober life, but if his symptoms get really bad, he might.
My best to you and your family.