10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Liver Disease
The liver, about the size of a football, is the body’s largest internal organ. It sits on the right side of your body just under your rib cage and acts as a filtration device, removing harmful substances from the blood. The liver also makes bile to help digest food and stores sugar that the body uses for energy.
The liver is a vital organ that plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. It performs various functions, including filtering toxins from the blood, metabolizing nutrients, and storing essential substances. However, liver disease can develop silently, often with few or no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of liver disease is essential for early diagnosis and effective treatment. In this blog, we'll discuss ten early indicators of liver disease that you should be aware of.
Liver problems develop silently with no obvious symptoms in the early stages yet the disease is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.
When symptoms develop, it is likely to be due to scarring of the liver from damage. This is known as cirrhosis.
Also see: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast
What is cirrhosis?
Cirrhosis is the result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver and may be due to many different causes. The damage leads to scarring, known as fibrosis. Irregular bumps (nodules) replace the smooth liver tissue and the liver becomes harder. Together, the scarring and the nodules are called cirrhosis.
If you have cirrhosis, you may develop one or more of the symptoms below. If you have or are worried about any of these symptoms discuss them with your doctor or call or visit ER of Texas nearby emergency room.
- Generally feeling unwell and tired all the time
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight and muscle wasting
- Feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting
- Tenderness/pain in the liver area
- Spider-like small blood capillaries on the skin above waist level (spider angiomas)
- Blotchy red palms
- Disturbed sleep patterns
Later symptoms, as the liver is struggling to function
Here are some of the most common signs that you may be developing liver problems.
- A general unwell feeling. An underperforming liver can’t filter toxins out of the bloodstream, resulting in fatigue, headaches and skin problems.
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Frequent gassy sensation. When a damaged liver doesn’t secrete digestive juices to break down food, you may experience routine bloating and stool pressure.
- Confusion. When the liver isn’t working properly, toxins can build up, causing brain fog. This is called hepatic encephalopathy. You may also be confused and disoriented.
- Fluid retention: A weak liver can result in swelling due to fluid retention, especially of the feet and ankles
- Dark urine: Urine that is darker than usual, accompanied by white stool
- Loss of appetite and sudden weight loss
- Vomiting blood
- Loss of muscle and muscle weakness
The main causes of liver disease include viruses like hepatitis, alcohol use disorder and fatty liver disease. Despite the great strides in curing hepatitis, liver disease is more prevalent than ever.
Excess alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease, including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and eventually liver cancer. Cirrhosis is a common cause of end-stage liver disease. Often, a liver transplant is needed when cirrhosis progresses to the point that scar tissue replaces healthy tissue and the liver stops functioning. While alcoholic liver disease typically follows years of heavy drinking, binge drinking can result in rapid progression of liver disease.
Red flag symptoms
If you have any of the following symptoms you must see a doctor straight away, especially if you have recently been diagnosed with cirrhosis:
- Fever with high temperatures and shivers, often caused by an infection
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting blood
- Very dark or black tarry stools (faeces)
- Periods of mental confusion or drowsiness.
Although these symptoms may seem very different, because your liver is responsible for so many different functions, if it stops working properly, a range of problems can result.
Remember, this blog provides general information and should not replace professional medical advice. If you have any of the above symptoms you must see a doctor straight away, or visit or call the Closest Emergency Room for medical help.
We have ER locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area that are open and here to help you 24/7 If you or your family have a medical emergency.
We have 9 facilities spread across the DFW area with average wait times of less than 10 mins that are OPEN 24/7 located in Hurst, Colleyville, Frisco, Highland Village, Hillcrest, Uptown, Little Elm, Mansfield, and Texoma.