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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: Liver problems or something else??

 Eric55 - Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:17 pm

I've had a re-occuring slight burning pain on the upper right side of my ribs about 7 inches under my arm pit. I also have a dull very mild ache or full sensation in the lower right abdomen about 3 inches below my ribs and tends to not always be in the same spot. I've had comprehensive blood tests, urine test, stool sample, ultrasound, full upper body CT Scan (with contrast), chest X-Ray, Lung compacity test - ALL tested normal. I have no other sympotoms and feel absolutely fine. My AST is only slightly elevated (50). All other liver function test are normal. Also, this discomfort is not present in the morning and don't notice it while I'm sleeping.

This has been going on for about 7 months. I've been very concerned there could be a problem with my liver as I have been a heavy drinker for about 11 years. I still drink, but a bit less. I also drink about 3 cups of coffee per day. My diet otherwise is healthy and balanced. I'm not overweight and I'm a 37 year old male. I come from a family of heavy drinkers but no occurances of any liver problems. Mostly colon problems.
 Dr. Wafaa Abdel-Hadi - Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:18 pm

Dear Eric55,

It seems that everything is O.K with all your tests,but at the same time heavy alcohol drinking is very harmful to the liver tissue(parenchyma)...It might not be seen now, but it is in progress to something called cirrhosis and hence the slight elevation in your AST ,although your ALT should be elevated as well.

Cirrhosis is disruption of the liver cells' architecture that can impair their normal functions leading later on to liver cell failure or even liver cancer.

I advice you to decrease your alcohol consumption , also try to cut down on fatty food,excercise regularly and drink plenty of fluid. Re-do the liver functions after 3 months and have your doctor do a thoroughly abdominal examination for you.

I hope this have helped.
Best regards,
 Eric55 - Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:38 pm

Thank you doctor for taking the time to respond to my question. I did just recently had my blood retested and AST still just slightly elevated and ALT is well within normal range. Actually it's on the lower end of normal.

My doctor verified that my liver looks normal, no fatty infiltration, enlargement or irregularities (based on CT/Utrasound results). I was sent to a GI specialist whom has decided to preform an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy due to the LRQ location of my discomfort. Unfortunately I am very aware of exactly what cirrhosis is (hence why I'm on these boards). With the upmost respect, you scared the #@* out of me when you said that my liver was in progress to cirrhosis. After researching on my own and consulting with my doctors, I'm a long way from developing anything like that. Never-less, I've cut back significantly on drinking. Less than 20 drinks in a week (down from 45). Basically 2 light beers after work and a glass of white wine with dinner. Thanks again for your response.
 Dr. Wafaa Abdel-Hadi - Sat Jul 28, 2007 3:06 pm

Dear Eric55,

Excuse me if I have scared you.I didn't say you actually have cirrhosis , but I said it might happen if you continue on drinking ..You have stated that you were a heavy drinker for 11 years...that's a lot of load on the It is great that your symptoms have lead to your decreasing in alcohol consumption and concentrating more on your life style.

It's a good thing that they will do endoscopies for you, they are ruling out any gastrointestinal causes that might lead to a referred pain in your ribs.

ALT is more specific for liver disease than AST because AST is produced in other places besides the liver (e.g. heart, intestine, muscle).It is only elevated if there is injury in any of those tissues.

Have you had a blow to your ribs that might have caused the pain? how about your exercise habits?
Best wishes,
 Eric55 - Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:35 am

Thanks doctor for replying. Interesting you mention rasied AST with intestines. My GI mentioned that my discomfort is from my intestinal area. Good that I'll be getting the upcoming tests. But the liver issue (or what was) I guess was a wake-up call. Hopefully there's nothing else as serious as liver desease going on somewhere else. I have to be positive and confident that there isn't. And I don't recall any injuries to my ribs, pain is actually below my ribs, but ditto on the injury. Thank you again!

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