5 Symptoms of Liver Damage

Your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. It is responsible for actions such as the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, as well as the detoxification of your blood. These are essential things which help your body function normally.

Liver damage can be caused by a variety of factors including poisoning, excess alcohol intake, long term illness, or even good old genetics. The frightening thing is that liver damage is often left unnoticed until the final stages of the illness, when little can be done to remedy the problem. Here are 5 of the most common symptoms of liver damage that you should be on the lookout for. If you notice any of them, please consult a medical professional immediately.

1. Swollen abdominal area

A swollen abdomen may often be associated with pregnancy or putting on a few pounds. However, it could also be a sign of ascites, a condition characterized by fluid buildup in the stomach. Common causes for the condition include alcoholic liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Ascites is also known to be caused by liver damage.

Patients diagnosed with ascites often report swelling in the leg along with a bloated abdomen. Treatment for ascites often includes regulation of sodium intake in the diet and administration of diuretics. Left untreated, it could lead to the extent of making a liver transplant necessary.

2. Jaundice

One of the most common ways that liver damage is detected is through jaundice, which is a condition characterized by your skin and the whites in your eyes turning a shade of yellow.

Jaundice is often caused by the body’s inability to remove bilirubin (bile) from the red blood cells. Since this is often because of a malfunction in the liver, you will need to get a diagnosis and treatment to the underlying liver disease to properly treat jaundice.

3. Pain in upper right abdominal area

A pain or discomfort in the upper-right abdominal area could be telling sign of an inflammation in the liver. An inflamed liver could have been caused by several reasons from cirrhosis or ascites to a viral hepatitis infection.

In some cases, pain medication may be able to give you some temporary relief. But in other cases, excess consumption of certain over-the-counter medication itself can be the cause of liver damage, which is the underlying condition that would need to be treated to fully rid of its side effects.

4. Change in urine and stool color

Every once in a while, your urine or stool might change color or texture due to something or the other that you eat. But, long term changes in them, specifically your urine turning a dark yellow and stool becoming lighter is a common indication of liver disease.

The liver is responsible for the breaking down of food, and also removing the waste (bilirubin) from the body through stool. When it’s unable to do these tasks efficiently (due to liver damage), it passes it on to the kidneys. Therefore, wastage is passed through urine, making it darker in color. Since waste isn’t being passed through stool, as it often would, it makes it lighter in color.

5. Chronic fatigue

Another common symptom of liver damaged, and often an indicator that it is in its later stages, is chronic fatigue and muscle weakness. This occurs because the liver is unable to perform yet another of its important duties due to its damaged state.

Liver damage makes it hard for the liver to effectively breakdown and release glucose, which is needed to fuel your body’s energy supply and revitalize cells. This is can therefore lead to chronic fatigue, tiredness, muscle pain, etc. In some extreme cases, it could lead to mental illness or even coma.

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