Symptoms of Liver Disease

The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body because of its essential role in eliminating toxins from the blood and converting food into energy. Liver diseases are a group of infections, disorders and conditions which affect the tissues, structures and cells of the liver which in turn cause damage or in some cases completely stop the liver functioning. Here are some of the symptoms that are associated with some of the most common of these liver diseases.

Here is a video to tell you how to recognize the symptoms of liver disease

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcoholic liver disease is in most cases the result of many years of excessive intake of alcohol. In general, when alcohol is consumed in excess for a longer period of time and when larger amounts of alcohol are consumed, there is a much higher chance of the development of liver disease as well as related liver problems.

The symptoms of alcoholic liver disease will vary based on the progression and severity of the problem. In some cases, they will not even be present until the liver disease has advanced. In addition, the symptoms tend to be worse after heavy drinking. The symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the abdominal region
  • Ascites (an excess of fluid found between the membranes that line the abdominal organs and the abdomen)
  • Weight gain because of ascites
  • Loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • Confusion
  • Excessive thirst or dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Jaundice

Fatty Liver Disease (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)

Fatty liver disease is also known as steatosis and many experts consider this disease to be the first part of alcoholic liver disease, the progressive condition mentioned above.

It is possible to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and not show any symptoms or signs. In most cases when symptoms do occur, they are non-specific and fairly vague. During the early stages of this disease, it is common to feel a dull ache in the upper right part of the abdomen, malaise and fatigue. When the disease becomes more advanced, some possible symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the engorged veins found in the intestines or esophagus
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Fatigue
  • Itching that begins on the hands and feet but eventually spreads to the entire body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sexual interest
  • Liver failure
  • Mental confusion possibly including trouble concentrating or forgetfulness
  • Nausea
  • Easy bruising or small and red spider veins found under the skin
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling of the feet and legs due to retained fluid
  • Urine that is cola-colored and dark
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is the inflammation of your liver and it is a gastroenterological disease. Alcoholic hepatitis is also known as acute hepatitis or steatonecrosis and many experts believe it is the second stage in alcoholic liver disease (which was mentioned above), which is a progressive liver condition.

There are several forms of hepatitis but in general, the symptoms are fairly similar. The most noticeable symptom is jaundice at first but when the viral infection begins to spread throughout your liver, this organ will usually become enlarged which in turn causes abdominal pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Enlarged liver
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • General achiness
  • Jaundice
  • Headache
  • Joint aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Malaise
  • Vomiting two or three times each day throughout the first 5 days of the disease

Liver Fibrosis

Most experts consider liver fibrosis to be the third stage for alcoholic liver disease (which is mentioned above), a progressive condition that damages the liver. Some of the symptoms and signs associated with liver fibrosis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Ascites (the abnormal accumulation of fluids within the abdominal cavity)
  • Bleeding due to engorged veins found in the intestines or esophagus
  • Urine that is dark and cola-colored
  • Easy bruising
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Itchy feet and hands
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sexual interest
  • Nausea
  • Appearance of small blood vessels (which resemble spider-veins) under the skin
  • Edema (swelling of the feet and legs due to retained fluid)
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Tenderness of the liver
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)

Liver Cirrhosis

Following the pattern from the previously described conditions, experts usually consider liver cirrhosis to be the fourth stage for alcoholic liver disease which is a progressive condition that causes liver damage and was described above.

In the early stages of liver cirrhosis, a large amount of people will not experience any symptoms of liver damage. When the disease becomes more advanced, however, the scar tissue will begin to replace the healthy cells causing the liver function to fail. This can cause a large range of complications and symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Bruising easily
  • Bleeding easily
  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin)
  • Ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen)
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Weight loss

Primary Liver Cancer

Primary liver cancer can be a serious problem, especially since in most cases those suffering it from it will not experience any symptoms until the cancer is advanced. This leads to a difficulty in detecting it. The best way to significantly reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer is to protect yourself from the two main causes of it, hepatitis and cirrhosis, both of which are described above. Here are some of the symptoms and signs of primary liver cancer:

  • Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin)
  • Abdominal pain (particularly in the upper right region)
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Enlarged liver
  • General fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
 
 
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