Don’t Postpone a Doctor’s Visit If You Have These Symptoms

Liver disease is often under-diagnosed, mainly because the symptoms are often mild and vague.
The more apparent symptoms of liver disease are:
  • Abdominal pain, especially after eating fatty foods. For more on abdominal pain caused by liver damage an more, read our article Abdominal Pain Map.
  • Difficulty digesting food.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

At the same time, many people, especially the older generations, and people on many medications will suffer from some form of chronic liver disease, often unknowingly. To prevent that from happening to you, pay close attention to these 9 warning signs of liver disease.

symptoms of liver disease liver picture

1. Jaundice: Yellowing of the Skin and Eyes

This symptom is a definite indication that something is seriously wrong with your liver. One of the main functions of your liver is blood filtration: your old blood is recycled in your liver and the side-product of that process is something called bilirubin.
symptoms of liver disease jaundice
Normally, this compound is excreted through the bile duct once it accumulates in the liver, but when your liver is malfunctioning, it can no longer filter out the bilirubin and it is accumulated in your skin and eyes, rendering them a yellow color.

2. Dark Colored Urine

If you noticed that your urine became very dark in color lately, it may be a symptom of liver disease. It can become any color starting from amber, to dark orange and brown, depending on what your normal urine color was initially and the severity of the liver problem.
symptoms of liver disease urine color
The reason why this happens is the same bilirubin that causes jaundice that is not filtered out properly and gets into the urine. If you experience this symptom along with abdominal pain and other symptoms we mention here, you may want to check your liver.

3. Spider Veins on the Face and Upper Body

These are small red web-like formations on the skin that carry the scientific name of spider angiomas. They can occur on any part of the body and aren’t dangerous on their own.

symptoms of liver disease spider veins
When they are located on the upper body and face, however, they could indicate a problem with your liver.

4. Sudden and Unexpected Weight Loss

It is often a bad sign if you suddenly lose a significant amount of your weight without intending to do so. It can indicate infections, digestive problems, and liver disease as well.
symptoms of liver disease weight loss
So, if you lost more than 10% of your weight in a short period of time and experience some of the other symptoms that we mentioned, your liver might be struggling.

5. Itching Skin

One unexpected symptom of liver disease is skin itching with no apparent rash, allergy or other reason.
symptoms of liver disease itching skin
If you feel like you get super itchy, especially at night, it may be because toxins are flooding your skin since the liver can’t filter them out as it is supposed to.

6. A Swollen Belly

Ascites, or the accumulation of fluid in the belly, can be a result of several liver problems, especially cirrhosis. For an explanation of what cirrhosis is, read Our Comprehensive Guide to Cirrhosis.
symptoms of liver disease ascites
Depending on the development of the symptom, it has different symptoms:
  • Mild ascites can cause discomfort, a feeling of heaviness in the belly and intolerance to exercise.
  • Ascites in its more advanced stages will cause significant swelling of the belly, pain, and shortness of breath because the fluid accumulating in the belly presses on the person’s internal organs and diaphragm.

7. Confusion

In very advanced stages, liver disease can manifest itself in the form of blurry vision, confusion, and difficulty memorizing and focusing on tasks due to changes in nervous connections. It may not strike you as a very serious symptom, but it is very debilitating and points to nerve damage.
symptoms of liver disease confusion
If you experience these symptoms and other symptoms of liver disease, we highly recommend you to see a doctor because confusion is usually a severe symptom. 

8. Feeling Constantly Tired and Depressed

Fatigue is the formal definition of the symptom, but it manifests itself in chronic physical and mental tiredness and lack of motivation. It generally has a gradual onset and can be alleviated with rest.
If you experience fatigue often and without any known reason, it may be a sign of liver disease.
symptoms of liver disease fatigue

9. Skin Bruises Easily

Our livers usually produce blot-clotting proteins that protect our body from losing blood. When the liver is damaged, it starts producing less and less of these proteins, which can make your skin more prone to bruising and your wounds will heal slower.
If you experience severe bruising for no reason, it may be a sign your liver is sick.
symptoms of liver disease bruising
Let us remind you that articles like these are not intended to diagnose an illness, we urge you to talk about all of your health concerns with a doctor. The information is provided in this article for information purposes only.
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