The liver is the largest solid organ in your body. It is located in the right upper quadrant of your abdomen and partly protected by the ribs. You need your liver for many important bodily functions therefore you cannot live without your liver. For this reason, you should know the early signs of liver damage. This can help you take care of your liver as much as you possibly can.
The liver is generally pretty capable of repairing damaged cells. But after a sustained amount of damage, these cells never heal, which can result in cirrhosis. Once this happens, signs and symptoms of liver damage will be more severe.
10 Early Warning Signs of Liver Damage
There are more than a hundred different kinds of diseases of the liver. Each has its own set of symptoms. These includes diseases such as alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis of the liver. The early signs of liver disease tend to be easily overlooked and are non-specific. This is because, they are related to a number of different conditions. Here are some common early signs.
1. Stomach Upset
A major sign to get is nausea and vomiting. But, they can mimic other diseases, such as migraines, food poisoning, motion sickness, early pregnancy. Those who suffer from early liver damage continuously feels nausea. Because the liver can’t remove toxins. However, the nausea can also be due to changes in digestion. If you have these symptoms for several days and don’t know why, consult your doctor.
2. General Body Weakness
This is another early and obvious signs of liver damage. You are likely to be constantly feeling tired and weak. Your body works extra when the liver is not in a good condition. Due to this you will need more rest. This occurs because, there is increase in toxins in the bloodstream. These toxins can’t be cleared out because the liver can’t get rid of the toxins properly.
3. Lack of Appetite in Liver Damage
One main function of bile is to digest food and fat. But in liver damage, there’s a lack of bile production. When indigestion occurs, it can lead to a lack of appetite. This in-turn however can lead to a severe weight loss. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a long period of time.
4. Digestion Problems
The liver is important in digestion because it makes bile. This helps in the breakdown of nutrients and absorption by the small intestines. But, in liver damage, you can bowel problems such as indigestion and diarrhea. Besides, if the bile is not produced properly, you can also experience irritable bowel syndrome, fatty food intolerance, alcohol intolerance, abdominal bloating, constipation and gallstones. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
5. Changes in Urine Colour
If you notice your urine colour to dark besides drinking enough water, this may be a sign of liver damage. The urine may look brown, amber, or orange in color because of elevated levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. The bilirubin is high because the liver cannot get rid of it and it is excreted through the kidneys. However, dark urine may also be due to other problems such as dehydration, side effects of some medicines or a UTI.
6. Alterations in Stool Color
Because the bile is not made enough by a malfunctioning liver, the color of the stool changes. Instead of being brown, it can become pale yellow, clay colored, or gray in appearance. If this happens periodically, it is not dangerous, but if it happens often, seek the advice of your doctor to check out your liver.
7. Jaundice in Liver Damage
Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration to the skin, tongue, fingertips, and eyes. It occurs due to an increase in bilirubin in the bloodstream and in the bodily tissue that would normally be excreted in the bile. Bilirubin builds up when old red blood cells are broken down inside the liver. This causes the skin to become yellow. Jaundice can also mean you have a problem with the pancreas or gallbladder. Therefore, seek medical attention as soon as you can if you develop this symptom.
8. Changes in the Abdomen
If you experience abdominal discomfort such as pain, bloating or cramping, this can mean that you have ascites and a liver failure. Ascites is one of the early signs of liver damage. Basically, ascites means that fluid has built up inside the abdominal cavity. It can happen whenever there is damage to the liver or liver cirrhosis. But, you can also get ascites from disorders unrelated to the liver, so you should seek medical attention if you develop this symptom.
9. Swollen Feet and Leg
One of the early signs and symptoms of liver damage is fluid retention, especially in the ankles and feet. This is similar to ascites except the fluid is building up in the outer tissues in the lower extremities. There are many other causes of fluid retention, such as kidney problems, heart failure.
10. Continuous Skin Itching during Liver Damage
The skin becomes more sensitive during liver problems. It often itches and flakes, being hypersensitive to touch. You may experience easy bleeding and your veins showing on your body. You can try to keep the skin moisturized with lotion. But the itching and skin sensitivity probably won’t get better until the actual liver problem is properly solved.