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I'm drinking heavily and have slight redness in my hands - could it be liver failure?

Aug 13, 2011

I'm 40 years old and diagnosed less than a year ago. I have a 686 CD4count and an undetectable viral load. I had a full organ panel in May of 2011 and everything was normal if not, good. I have been drinking beer heavily (6-10 per evening 4-6 days a week). My concern is a slight redness in my fingers and palms. I read it could be a symptom of liver failure. Could I have contracted cirrhosis in the space of two months? (my liver panel was normal as of May 30).

Response from Dr. Fawcett

The redness you describe can be caused by complications with your liver. While cirrhosis typically takes years to develop, alcohol can cause hepatitis (an inflammation of the liver) much more quickly. You need to follow up with your physician and immediately cut down on your alcohol intake. You don't mention your history with substance use, but it certainly seems like you are using alcohol to cope with uncomfortable feelings. I strongly recommend finding a professional with whom you can speak about these feelings and cutting out the beer. Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are two resources to help you in this process. At this rate, alcohol will create deadlier complications long before HIV progresses.

Good luck, David

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