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Early Signs Of Liver Problems And What To Do With Them

The liver is an important organ in the human body that is required for maintaining good health, which explains why people should be aware of the early signs of liver problems.

One of the main functions of the liver is to digest and absorb nutrients from the food we consume. In addition, it aids in the process of digestion.

The liver is responsible for a variety of other functions in the body, making it critical for people to know its condition.

The early signs of liver problems should therefore be carefully considered.

How Do You Know If Something Is Wrong With Your Liver?

A pair of yellowish eyes indicating jaundice
A pair of yellowish eyes indicating jaundice

It can be easy to detect some of the early signs of liver problems because either you see them or you feel them.

(1) feeling gassy

When you feel gassy more often – that is, you feel bloated (feel full in your stomach) – that’s another one of the early signs of liver problems.

Digestive juices help breakdown the food we eat. The liver secretes them but if it is not healthy, it may not be able to do so.

It means that a liver problem can also cause problems in the digestive system.

(2) fatigue/tiredness

Food provides people with energy. As previously mentioned, the liver helps breakdown the food by secreting digestive juices.

If the liver is unhealthy, it cannot break down food properly. Hence, the body doesn’t get all the energy it needs.

That’s when you will begin feeling tired most of the time even if you haven’t done much physical activity.

(3) itchy skin

Under the layers of the skin, according to Healthline, bile salt can accumulate once the liver becomes unhealthy. You will frequently feel itchy.

(4) abdominal pain

The liver is located close to the rib cage on the right side of the body. When the liver’s health starts to decline, you may feel some pain in your lower abdomen. There can also be pain on your ribs.

(5) changes in urine color

One of the visible early signs of liver problems that you can check pertains to the color of your urine. Observe its color the next time you take a pee.

According to LiverSupport.com, if the color of your urine is “orange, amber or brown,” then it could be possible that you’ve got a liver problem.

(6) jaundice (yellowing of the skin/eyes)

The color of your skin may change as a result of liver damage.

You will notice that your skin complexion suddenly turns yellowish. You may also start looking paler. The tips of your nails will also become yellowish.

This skin discoloration is one of the early signs of liver problems. The liver is no longer functioning properly because it cannot anymore expel out of the body the yellowish pigment called bilirubin.

When bilirubin starts to build up (because the liver cannot help in getting it out of the body), the skin will turn yellowish. This is called jaundice. The white area of the eyes can also become yellowish.

(7) edema/oedema (fluid retention)

Usually, the feet are where the fluid retention happens. The foot starts to swell as fluid collects in this part of the body. Fluid retention can also take place in your hands, thighs, and ankles.

(8) weight loss

Liver disease can make you thin because it affects the body’s nutrient absorption (from the food you eat). Even if you’re not on a conscious diet, you will find yourself suddenly losing a lot of weight.

Edema is one of the early signs of liver problems. So, if you have some swelling in those body parts mentioned above, it could be because of a poorly functioning liver.

(9) blood in the stool

If you see blood in your stool, better see a doctor ASAP.

(10) nausea

Two early signs of liver problems are heartburn (other names: acid indigestion and acid reflux; you feel a burning sensation in your lower chest area) and upset stomach (indigestion). The matter becomes worse if you start vomiting.

How Do I Make My Liver Healthy Again?

Male and female adults and children with liver problems exercising outdoors
Male and female adults and children with liver problems exercising outdoors

If you happen to experience one or some of the early signs of liver problems referred to earlier, don’t totally panic!

You can still do things to improve the condition of your liver.

The American Liver Foundation recommends the following measures you can do to help your liver become healthy again:

(1) ”Exercise regularly.”

(2) ”Eat a balanced diet.”

Include vegetables and fruits in your daily meals. Eat foods rich in fiber (e.g., apples, beans, berries, broccoli potatoes, whole grains). Avoid fatty foods, such as those rich in saturated fat.

(3) ”Drink a lot of water.”

(4) “Use alcohol responsibly.”

You may either quit drinking alcoholic beverages or be moderate in consuming them.

(5) “Avoid toxins.”

Stop cigarette smoking and avoid second-hand smoke. Always wear a face mask when using insecticides and cleaning products that contain chemicals.

Conclusion

Silhouette of a person with healthy liver standing on a rock during sunset
Silhouette of a person with healthy liver standing on a rock during sunset

Knowing the early signs of liver problems is crucial because, as stated earlier, the liver does so many things in the body to keep it strong and healthy.

Cleveland Clinic warns that liver failure can lead to other health problems, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and Hepatitis B and C.

If you see and/or feel one or two of the early signs of liver problems stated in this article, make sure to consult a physician.

About The Authors

Rian Mcconnell

Rian Mcconnell - Rian is a Villanova University graduate who was born in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with a medical degree. His residency was at Thomas Jefferson and its associated Wills Eye Hospital, and he finished his education with fellowships in cataract and corneal surgery at the University of Connecticut. He has a vast experience in ophthalmic surgery, with a focus on cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and laser refractive procedures. He serves on the board of Vision Health International, an agency that provides eye care and surgery to indigent patients in Central and South America, in addition to his surgical practice.

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