Alcoholic liver disease history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief:


History should focus on the history of alcohol use by the patient, and the history of symptoms that may have developed. Pertinent symptoms that may be reported are; an increase in abdominal girth (due to ascites, loss of appetite, gynocomastia, skin changes, excessive thirst, fatigue, nausea, hematemesis, mental confusion, and jaundice.


  • Recent history of heavy drinking
  • Chronic alcohol intake i.e. > 80 g/d in men and 40 g/d in women with alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis.


Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:

  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • Agitation
  • Bloody, dark black, or tarry bowel movements (melena)
  • Breast development in males (gynocomastia)
  • Changing mood
  • Confusion (encephalopathy)
  • Changed level of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired short- or long-term memory
  • Difficulty paying attention (attention deficit)
  • Impaired ability to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment
  • Light-headedness or fainting, especially when standing
  • Paleness
  • Tachycardia when rising to standing position
  • Redness on feet or hands
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Hematemesis or coffee-ground emesis

Symptoms vary based on the severity of the disease. They are usually worse after a recent period of heavy drinking.

2010 AASLD/ACG Alcoholic Liver Disease Guidelines (DO NOT EDIT)[1]

Abstinence : Guidelines (DO NOT EDIT)[1]

Class I
1. " Clinicians should discuss alcohol use with patients, and any suspicion of possible abuse or excess should prompt use of a structured questionnaire and further evaluation. (Level of evidence: C) "
2. " Patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and suggestive symptoms should be screened for evidence of other end-organ damage, as appropriate. (Level of evidence: C) "


  1. 1.0 1.1 "" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-27.