Symptoms of a diseased liver manifest themselves in various ways including through skin and eyes. Major damaging factors include alcohol abuse, smoking, various drugs, blood transfusion, and even unprotected sex. Other causes may include type 2 diabetes, obesity, improper diet, and an inactive lifestyle.
So, do you wonder if your liver is healthy and functioning properly? Even if you don’t show any symptoms of possible liver damage, the organ may still be in trouble.
Before we talk about all the possible symptoms of a dysfunctional liver, let’s know what important and vital functions does our liver performs to keep us healthy.
Functions of The Liver
The liver is a particularly important organ in the human body. It is the largest solid organ responsible for a multitude of important functions.
Major liver functions:
- Detoxifies the blood: The liver filters the blood and removes toxic substances and byproducts. Ammonia is a harmful byproduct of metabolic processes that the liver first converts into urea and then removes it from the bloodstream.
- Albumin productions: The liver produces and releases a protein called albumin into the bloodstream. This protein stops the blood from leaking into the tissue.
- Bile production: A fluid that aids digestion, helps breakdown fats.
- Regulates amino acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The liver ensures the level of amino acids in the blood is maintained.
- Blood coagulation: Bile produced by the liver absorbs Vitamin K needed to produce blood coagulants.
- Regulates blood sugar levels: Excess glucose in the blood can cause diabetes. The liver converts excess glucose into glycogen and stores it safely.
- Ensures a healthy immune system: The liver produces immune factors and also removes bacteria from the blood.
Pain on the right side of the abdomen under the ribs is a sign of stretching or irritation of the serosa or is related to the pressure caused by an enlarged liver. However, we often associate abdominal pain in this area with other ailments, which is why we see a doctor too late and start treatment too late.
Liver damage can progress over the years, which has a devastating effect on our health, well-being, and appearance. Therefore, it is a good idea to take care of your liver health. Dietary supplements may be a good solution.
Main Symptoms of a Diseased Liver
Many liver diseases develop asymptomatically, and some people do not experience specific symptoms even at an advanced stage of the disease. The diagnosis of liver problems is also made difficult by the fact that even if the symptoms are present, they are so nonspecific that they may also be evidence of other diseases.
On the one hand, they may therefore be underestimated by patients, on the other hand, on the other hand, even after reporting to a specialist, finding their cause may require in-depth medical diagnostics.
In the course of liver diseases, you can observe, among others:
Abdominal Pain: Because the liver does not hurt, we can feel any pain symptoms under the pressure of the liver on the neighboring organs. A common symptom of liver disease is a pain in the lower abdomen, as well as cramps in this area, and a feeling of fullness and swelling.
Change in Urine Color: The first symptom that should worry us is a change in color of urine from straw-colored, translucent to dark, or even bloody. This is the case when there is an excess of bilirubin in the blood, which indicates that the liver is not working properly.
Swelling and Inflammation: Liver disease is indicated by the feeling of swelling on the face, hands, legs, and ankles. This condition occurs especially in the morning after waking up, but it can also be a pain during the day, preventing normal functioning.
Deterioration of Well-being: A characteristic symptom of liver diseases is chronic fatigue and a marked deterioration in well-being.
When these symptoms persist for a long time despite not being obvious, other causes should worry us and prompt us to see a doctor. They can be one of the symptoms of a diseased liver.
Natural dietary supplements that strengthen the liver can help to reduce the risk of liver disease as well as regenerate the organ.
Skin Symptoms of a Diseased Liver
Changes in the appearance of the skin – liver disease also manifests itself in the appearance of our skin. Diseases related to this organ affect the entire body and may manifest themselves through skin changes.
The most common signs on the skin are those accompanying a diseased liver, including:
- Skin pigmentation disorders, discoloration,
- Skin hypersensitivity to touch and tendency to bruise.
- Yellowing of the skin (and the whites of the eyes) – jaundice
- Itching of the skin
- Yellow tufts – these are soft, subcutaneous cholesterol deposits, with a yellow or orange color,
- Vascular spider veins – most often located on the neck, shoulders, and chest,
- Palmar erythema, as well as a symptom of Medusa’s head – a characteristic widening of the veins around the navel,
- Hair loss – especially in the intimate area of both women and men,
- Skin resembling a banknote ( banknote leather ) – rough, wrinkled.
Other Symptoms of a Diseased Liver
In the course of liver diseases, there are also general symptoms that affect well-being and appetite. People with certain chronic diseases, which are risk factors for metabolic disorders and for the functioning of the bile ducts, are also more likely to develop liver diseases.
The likelihood of liver dysfunction appears in the following cases:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Enlargement of the spleen
- Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Bloody diarrhea
Bleeding in the Gullet or Stomach
Certain groups of characteristic symptoms are distinguished in the case of some disease states, especially the acute ones concerning the liver and biliary tract. It is worth noting here that stronger abdominal pain ( hepatic colic ), fever, or chills usually occur in diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts.
Liver inflammation or steatosis is mostly asymptomatic conditions, although sometimes additional symptoms appear. Examples of symptoms associated with diseases of the liver and biliary tract include:
Acute cholangitis: With this condition, Charcot’s triad appears, i.e. a complex of three symptoms: jaundice, biliary (hepatic) colic, and fever with accompanying chills; the patient may also experience shock and confusion.
Acute cholecystitis: Severe abdominal pain in the right hypochondrium, vomiting, fever, chills, symptoms persist for more than six hours;
Acute viral hepatitis: people with acute hepatitis have easy fatigue, as well as joint and muscle pain, followed by jaundice;
Chronic hepatitis B and C: With this disease, there are few symptoms, quite typical is fatigue, low mood, and a feeling of pain or crushing in the area of the right rib; quite rarely, chronic hepatitis may be accompanied by jaundice;
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: the disease may be accompanied by a feeling of discomfort in the area of the right rib, and fatty liver disease may be found on ultrasound; in the case of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, there are also general symptoms, including weakness and fatigue, as well as palpable enlargement of the liver or spleen;
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC): Abdominal pain, abdominal fullness, fever, jaundice, leg swelling, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal bleeding, and gradual wasting.
Cirrhosis of the liver: Is a disease with a complex clinical picture, as it develops asymptomatically, but over time, various ailments gradually appear in patients, including weakness, fatigue, weight loss, ascites, skin symptoms, changes in the body and pubic hair, as well as symptoms on the part of the digestive system.
Liver Disease Diagnosis
If we notice symptoms that indicate a bad liver, we should see a doctor. Of course, due to the fact that symptoms are often very general, it will be necessary to exclude other conditions, and the diagnostic process is often not simple. It consists of medical history, palpation, as well as laboratory and imaging tests.
Certain liver diseases can be caused by infection (such as hepatitis) that spreads through various routes including blood and sexual contact. Others are the result of bile drainage problems, alcohol abuse, and other diseases. Therefore, it is important to consider this information when talking to your doctor.
Laboratory tests facilitate the assessment of the liver condition. The basis is liver tests (ALT, AST, ALP, GGTP, bilirubin), but the concentration of albumin and INR are also useful in clinical practice. If hepatitis is suspected, tests for HBs or anti-HCV antibodies can be performed.
In order to confirm or rule out changes in the liver parenchyma, an ultrasound of the liver is performed. Also, in the case of non-specific symptoms of the digestive system or other symptoms (e.g. skin symptoms), a specialist may order an abdominal ultrasound.
Liver Illness: Precautions and Treatment
If you experience any symptom indicating liver disease, see your doctor without undue delay. The specialist will order thorough examinations and introduce appropriate treatment.
In the course of treating liver diseases, various pharmacological therapies are used, at the same time metabolic disorders are balanced, complications of the disease are taken into account, and an appropriate diet is implemented. Symptomatic treatment and rest may be important. If necessary, a liver transplant is also performed.