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9 Early Signs your Liver may be Damaged. Liver Diseases - Symptoms and Causes

The liver is one of the most important organs taking part in the digestive system. Liver produces bile that emulsifies fats for enhanced digestion of the same. Liver stores glucose and synthesises proteins that are utilised for blood clotting and other body functions. Moreover, liver is responsible for removing toxins from blood stream. It processes all medications you take.

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Liver is well-known to be a forgiving organ that has the ability to regenerate its cells. However, this process has its limitations since repeated damaged liver causes inflammation, scaring and cirrhosis. As a result, liver shrinks and/or hardens changing its physical structure and preventing its healthy functions.  Liver gets damaged from drinking alcohol, getting exposed to toxins and eating fatty foods.  Also, viral infections called Hepatitis damages the liver.

Generally, signs to liver damage are so subtle that they go undetected. Only when the liver reaches its advanced damaged stage, the symptoms become more prominent and apparent. Here are some of the damaged liver symptoms/signs you should be aware of.

1. Fatigue and Tiredness

The most common symptom is constant fatigue and tiredness. Yet, there are not enough research studies and/or reports convincing the reason of this symptom. Doctors do not know how or why damaged liver causes exhaustion.

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2. Feeling Sick (Nausea)

Damaged liver cannot completely filter out toxins from the bloodstream. Hence, toxins build up in the circulating bloodstream causing nausea.

3. Dark Urine

Typically, healthy liver functions breakdowns billirubin so your urine does not get any unusual colouring. However, when the liver gets damaged, bilirubin builds up in the bloodstream. As a result, the urine changes its colour to amber, brown (cola-coloured) and dark orange. On noticing coloured urine consult doctor to treat your liver ailment.

4. Pale Stool

Bile naturally produced by the liver contains bile salts causing dark colouring of stools. If your stools turn pale, then you should realise that your liver is not functioning properly. Also, it indicates there might be a problem in the drainage system of bile. If the stools are black and tarry, then it could be due to advanced liver damage. Black and tarry stools typically occur due to blood that passes through your gastrointestinal tract. On noticing any change in colouring and texture of stools, you should consult your doctor immediately.

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5. Swollen Abdomen (Ascites)

When fluid gets retained in the abdomen, it gets swollen. This condition is termed as Ascites. Often, your legs and ankles also get swollen because of fluid retention.

6. Jaundice (Yellow skin or eyes)

Build-up of bilirubin, bile pigment, within the blood causes Jaundice. This happens when the bilirubin cannot be effectively processed. Jaundice makes the eyes yellow coloured. Also, the skin becomes extremely scratchy.

7. Spider naevi

You would notice clusters of small spider-shaped arteries appearing on the skin. In most cases, you would find a red dot from where numerous blood vessels radiates. This Spider naevi sign resembles a spider with its many legs. This symptom is commonly found even in healthy women. However, several Spider naevi appearing in upper half of your body suggests poor liver function.

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8. Bruising easily

On noticing that you often get bruises, you should consider getting a liver check-up. Healthy liver has the natural ability to produce proteins for blood clotting. In your case, the liver is probably not functioning as it should so seek help from doctor.

9. Reddened palms (Palmar erythema)

About quarter of people suffering from liver cirrhosis get reddened palms or palmar erythema. If you find this symptom on you, then definitely consult your doctor.


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