10 Warning Signs Your Liver Sends You – Early Symptoms of liver disease You Must Never Ignored
Early symptoms of liver disease includes yellow skin and eyes, dark urine, swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen, decrease in appetite, persistent fatigue, nausea, pale, bloody, or black (tarlike) stool.
The largest internal organ in the body, liver, forms the basis of life. Though mild liver infections and diseases can be cured, on progression to an advanced level, patients are usually prescribed a liver transplant surgery.
It is very crucial to detect liver infections at an early stage and get it treated. According to Dr. Vivek Vij, one of the best liver transplant surgeons in India, there are some common symptoms of liver damage:
What are the early Symptoms of Liver Diseases?
- Jaundice: This condition is associated with yellowing of skin and sclera (the white part of eye)
- Prolonged Mental/ Physical Exhaustion: Feeling tired and low in energy for the most part of the day without any specific reason is a clear indication of a liver problem.
- Nausea: Frequent stomach sickness together with the urge to vomit, is a red sign for liver disease.
- Weight Loss: A person suffering from drastic weight loss is also an indicator of liver infections.
- Change in Color of Excreta: Black stools and dark urine also point at liver related ailments.
- Swollen Feet & Ankles: The unexplained swelling of feet and ankles is yet another major sign liver disease.
Early Symptoms of Liver Disease (if not treated on time) can lead to End-Stage Liver Diseases – which means the liver has lost almost 80-90% of its functionality. If you are diagnosed with an End-Stage Liver Disease, doctors suggest a liver transplant after proper evaluation of the patient’s condition.
What are the factors considered For Liver Transplant?
Below are the factors liver specialists take into consideration before giving a ‘GO AHEAD’ for liver transplant:
1. The severity of Liver Damage:
Surgeons analyze the patient’s current state of illness and make a note of its severity. Based on the proportion of damage, patients are given a MELD score to predict the 90-day survival rate.
2. Other Medical Conditions:
The patient is tested for any other prevailing medical conditions, particularly, tuberculosis, HIV, cancer and heart problems, that can interfere with a liver transplant.
3. Alcohol or drug abuse:
Alcohol and drug history of the patient is one of the most important factors considered while evaluation. If the patient lives an unhealthy lifestyle and actively consumes alcohol, cigarette or any other type of drugs, he/she will be strictly asked to follow a healthy lifestyle for a particular time and only after the given period, the patient is re-considered and re-evaluated for a liver transplant.
4. Mental Strength:
The patient is also diagnosed with any kind of mental sickness or depression.
5. Support from Family & Friends:
One of the most important factors- Support from one’s family and friends – is also given priority while making a decision about liver transplant.
After a patient meets the eligibility criteria for the liver transplant as set by the team of doctors and surgeons, he/she is listed on the national waiting list. (This is a list of patients waiting for a desired donor).
Early Symptoms of Liver Disease and General symptoms
Symptoms of liver disease may vary depending on the underlying cause.
But there are a few common signs that often point to some kind of liver issue.
- yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
- dark urine
- pale, bloody, or black (tarlike) stool
- swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen
- decrease in appetite
- persistent fatigue
- skin that feels itchy
- bruising more easily than usual
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of your liver that a virus causes. Hepatitis is contagious, but it doesn’t always cause symptoms. This means it can be transmitted and contracted without knowing it.
Hepatitis spreads through contact with contaminated food, water, or bodily fluids, such as blood and semen.
All hepatitis infections affect your liver. It makes it swell and keeps it from working properly. These infections might be acute (lasting six months or less) or chronic (lasting more than six months).
The hepatitis virus can live in the body for years without causing symptoms. At first, you may notice flu-like symptoms. Over time, you may also notice:
- fatigue, decreased energy, or general weakness
- aching muscles and joints
- abdominal pain
- decreased appetite
- dark urine and pale stool
Getting vaccinated can help reduce your risk for hepatitis.
If you live in the United States, you can get vaccinated for hepatitis types A and B. A vaccine for type E is currently only available in China.
A healthy liver typically contains a small amount of fat. Fatty liver disease happens when there’s excess fat in the liver.
There are two types of fatty liver disease:
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease develops as a result of long-term heavy drinking.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease doesn’t have a clear cause, though diet may play a role in some cases.
Early Symptoms of Liver Disease Alcoholic fatty liver disease usually doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages. However, some people experience pain in the right side of their abdomen.
As it progresses, it can also cause:
- nausea and vomiting
Many people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease also have few or no symptoms in its earlier stages. But over time it may cause:
- general weakness and fatigue
- unexplained weight loss
- decreased appetite
- itchy skin
- swollen legs and abdomen
Liver failure can be chronic or acute. It usually occurs after cirrhosis. It typically happens in the final stages of liver disease, after the liver is too damaged to continue functioning. In most cases it’s a gradual process.
Symptoms that can point to early liver failure include:
- appetite loss
Later stages of liver failure may cause:
Overdoses, particularly acetaminophen overdoses, can cause acute liver failure. This refers to liver failure that happens over a period of days or weeks, rather than months or years.
Symptoms of acute liver failure include:
- pain or swelling in your right abdomen
- feeling sleepy, disoriented, or generally unwell
It’s not as common as chronic liver failure, but acute liver failure is very serious.
If you have signs of acute liver failure, seek medical attention right away. Sudden liver failure can lead to fluid buildup in the brain, excessive bleeding, and kidney failure.
Left untreated, liver diseases can have lasting effects on your health.
If you think you have a liver condition, it’s best to follow up with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. In most cases, early treatment is key for a smooth recovery when you observed Early Symptoms of Liver Disease.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Liver Disease
There are various treatments for liver diseases, however, there are also factors that determine the treatment method administered on a patient. These factors may include age, gender, the severity of liver disease, cause of liver disease, type of liver disease, overall health etc. Before a disease can be treated it must be diagnosed. A diagnosis is the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms. Before a diagnosis, your doctor would have to go through your medical history and make a physical examination. A diagnosis of liver disease can be done in the following ways:
Blood tests: A group of blood tests called liver function tests can be used to diagnose liver disease. Other blood tests can be done to look for specific liver problems or genetic conditions.
Tissue analysis: Removing a tissue sample (biopsy) from your liver may help diagnose liver disease and look for signs of liver damage. A liver biopsy is most often done using a long needle inserted through the skin to extract a tissue sample. It is then analysed in a laboratory.
Imaging tests: An ultrasound, CT scan and MRI can show liver damage.
As aforementioned, liver disease treatment is dependent on the diagnosis. Treatment can be done through lifestyle changes such as healthy weight loss, or reduced alcohol consumption. Asides that other forms of treatment include medications and surgery.
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