Signs of Liver Problems in Humans

Written by jeannie knudson
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Signs of Liver Problems in Humans
Early detection and treatment may inhibit further deterioration of the liver. (dr listen image by Kimberly Reinick from Fotolia.com)

Your liver processes and filters ingested foods, fluids and medications as well as chemicals or toxins you breathe. Liver problems are attributed to a range of ailments, and subsequent symptoms may be chronic or mild, depending on the severity of the disease and length of the illness. Any unusual symptoms with or without a previous diagnosis of liver disease should be evaluated by your doctor.

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Skin and Eye Changes

According to Mayo Clinic, visible signs of liver problems include skin and eyes with a yellowish tint (jaundice) and itching skin. The National Institutes of Health also links spider veins with cirrhosis or deterioration of the liver. Symptoms of jaundice are caused by increased levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced by the liver.

Intestinal Problems

Common complaints include dark urine and pale-coloured stool. Alternatively, you may experience dark tar-coloured or bloody stool. Other intestinal symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting. A feeling of fullness and decreased appetite may also contribute to weight loss associated with liver ailments. The full feeling may be due to an enlarged liver or fluid in the abdomen. To reduce additional liver damage, seek immediate medical attention for abdominal pain or blood in the stool.

Fatigue

Fatigue, listlessness and a general feeling of unwellness may indicate illness. Chronic fatigue or weakness may occur during the early or late stages of various liver disorders. Fatigue is a common complaint, and simple blood tests can determine whether the lethargy is related to the liver or other underlying conditions.

Advanced Symptoms

Advanced liver disease may result in fluid retention in the legs and abdomen and bruising or bleeding. Increased bruising and bleeding occurs when the liver's production of blood-clotting protein is diminished. Decreased mental function, confusion and mood changes may be due to a build-up of toxic substances in the brain. When your liver is not functioning at full capacity, its ability to remove toxins from the blood is diminished. Fevers may also signal a liver condition or underlying infection.

Considerations

Although most individuals develop liver problems and subsequent symptoms due to lifestyle choices or via contracted diseases, some inherited ailments affecting the liver, such as Wilson's disease, may lie dormant and not show symptoms until adulthood.

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