How can I tell if I have liver damage?

The liver is a very important organ in our body as it removes all the poisonous substances and toxicants from the blood and the digestive system. When there is any damage to the liver, it stops functioning properly, and therefore the toxic substances remain inside the body, ultimately affecting the other organs of the body as well. In most of the cases, there is no particular symptom seen when there is damage to the liver apart from fatigue, itching and weakness. However, other serious symptoms start showing up when there is serious damage to the liver. The very first symptom is jaundice, in which the skin and the eyes become yellowish in color as the liver is unable to remove and excrete bilirubin from the blood. An excess of bilirubin is the reason that makes this yellowing of the skin happen. The urine also darkens and the stool becomes pale in color. Other early stage symptoms are drop in energy level, loss of appetite, nausea, low hemoglobin in the blood and even weight loss. The skin tone darkens and the nails become white and clubbed and do not have that pink tinge in them anymore. Nose bleeding is another symptom as the liver fails to produce clotting proteins that are required to clot blood and thus clotting is delayed.

Other symptoms such as vomiting of blood, ulcers in the stomach, leaking of veins, appearance of veins on chest, neck and shoulder in spider formation and the palms and the soles of feet becoming red. At later stages, the body fluids start developing in the abdomen of the patient as the liver is unable to produce the protein which stops the fluid from entering the abdomen. In such a condition, the patient may develop swelling of legs and feet. There is another condition called hepatic encephalopathy, which is caused when the liver is unable to convert ammonia into urea (which is to be excreted) and this ammonia, with other toxins, enters the brain and causes confusion in the patient. Another sign is that the patient also feels extremely drowsy. If this situation continues for a long time, the patient may enter into coma. There is another condition called portal hypertension, caused when the blood can no longer flow fluently in the liver and it enters vessels which normally cannot handle it and thus results in increased pressure inside the body. These vessels can break open and cause internal bleeding also.

answered by M W

The liver plays an important role in removing toxic substances from the blood as well as in the digestive process. Any kind of damage to the liver or liver disease affects the functioning of the liver, causing the toxic substances to build up in the body, eventually affecting other parts of the body. It is important to know that most of the times, there are no obvious symptoms of liver damage apart from fatigue, lack of drive and itching. It is only when the liver damage is serious and or the liver disease has progressed that symptoms start showing. Cirrhosis of the liver refers to the scarring of the liver due to liver damage. Cirrhosis of the liver is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, chronic viral hepatitis, consumption of certain drugs and medications and certain metabolic and inherited disorders.

Early symptoms of liver damage include fatigue and weakness but as the disease progresses, there is a definite drop in energy, loss of appetite, nausea and even weight loss. The skin tone changes and darkens while nails become clubbed and white, losing their healthy pink tinge. Apart from this, nose bleeding and easy bruising is a common symptom since the liver does not make adequate clotting proteins and thus the clotting is delayed. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes occurs due to the failure of the liver to remove bilirubin from the blood. At a later stage of the disease, other symptoms such as vomiting of blood, ulcers in stomach and leaking varicose veins are noticed. The spread of the toxins to the brain can lead to hepatic encephalopathy which manifests in confusion, drowsiness and even coma.

answered by G M

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