Most people never give the liver a second thought unless something happens, but the liver is probably the most important and largest internal organ in the human body. It performs over five thousand separate bodily functions. The liver is responsible for cleansing the blood of toxins, converting food into nutrients, and control of hormone levels. It performs a myriad of other functions as well.
Several types of liver disease can be caused by damage from drugs, alcohol, chemicals, diabetes, obesity, or attacks from the immune system. Like many progressive diseases the early signs can be hard to catch. Certain physical changes will start happening as liver function starts to deteriorate, however. There are seven signs to watch out for.
A swollen abdomen could be an early sign of a medical condition known as ascites, a protein imbalance that makes fluids build up in liver tissues.
According to DrGurunath Reddy, a famous Digestive & Liver Disease Consultant from Houston, Texas, sometimes the swelling can occur in the feet, ankles, hands as the force of gravity moves the excess fluid downwards to the extremities.
The liver produces proteins which are necessary for blood clotting. A damaged liver produces fewer of them, which m ay cause you to bruise and bleed more easily. However, simple bruising can be caused by other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well.
Fatigue and Weakness
Too many people dismiss fatigue and lethargy as the normal side effects of a stressful life. However severe fatigue and exhaustion could imply low blood-oxygen levels, as well as a waste accumulation that could point to liver disease.
Loss of Appetite
Disinterest in food, nausea, and sudden weight loss are warning signs as well. The initial stages of hepatitis usually come with flu-like symptoms which may include digestive discomfort. You may also start feeling pain in other areas as the disease progresses.
The liver processes waste. If it’s not doing a good job of eliminating toxins from your body a bile pigment known as bilirubin begins to build up in the bloodstream. This causes your eyes and skin to take on a yellowish color. Your urine will be darker, and your stool may appear lighter.
Liver damage known as cirrhosis causes abdominal pain that commonly comes in the upper right ribs. You may feel an excruciating stabbing sensation that increases and decreases in intensity. This is a sign you require urgent medical attention and you should report to your nearest hospital right away.
As waste continues to accumulate you may start developing cognitive issues as these toxins can start moving to the brain. These issues can include concentration problems, confusion, changes in sleeping patterns and forgetfulness. In severe cases patients may become unresponsive as well.
Talk to your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of these early warning symptoms. Liver disease doesn’t go away on its own, and it gets worse over time. Without treatment many liver problems can become fatal. Early detection is usually your best weapon in the fight to maintain your health.