This information is very useful because knowing how to recognize the symptoms of liver disease can save your or someone else’s life. As with so many diseases and illnesses, if theliver disease is spotted early enough, it can be treated, and cured (the causes will be identified and avoided in the future), and your liver can fully recover, replace theold damaged tissue with new healthy tissue.This is only if the disease has not progressed enough, so that is one more reason why you should learn the warning signs for liver disease.
A gland and an organ
The largest internal organ that you have in your body is your liver (and also the largest internal gland). A normal liver in a healthy adult will weigh approximately between 3 to 3.5 pounds and it plays a crucial role in a many of body system functions.
The functions of the liver
The key functions of the liver are to enhance your digestive system by creating bile and to detoxify your blood, which helps to break down the fats that you consume into small pieces, making them easier for your small intestine to absorb them. But that is not all. Here is a quick summary of what your liver does for you:
- It stores glucose
- It stores some of your body’s iron and vitamins
- It detoxes your blood, filtering out any unwanted and harmful substances like alcohol and drugs
- It eliminates old red blood cells, which produces fecal matter which is normally brown in color. This is why when your stools are discolored (i.e. not brown) it means that there is something wrong with your liver function.
- It converts ammonia into urea, an essential ingredient for healthy metabolism
- It processes insulin, hemoglobin and a variety of other hormones
- it produces bile to aid digestion
- It converts glucose into sugar that the body can use when the body’s sugar levels become depleted
Any holistic health lifestyle without a healthy liver, will become severely compromised, and depending on the severity and the nature of the disease, could be fatal, which is why it’s so important to be able to interpret and detect the early symptoms of liver disease.
In some posts you might encounter hepatic disease, that is almost the same as liver disease. When a significant increase in liver function can be detected, that’s when any type of hepatic disease affects up to three quarters of your liver tissue.
The causes of liver disease
Liver disease can be caused in a number of different ways.
- The tissue of the liver may be damaged and attacked by toxins
- A build-up of cholesterol may occur
- The passage of bile may becomes obstructed, as in cholestasis
- The cells might be inflamed, as with hepatitis
- The flow of blood to the liver can be damaged
Cirrhosis of the liver and alcohol abuse
Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver disease in North America. The stagewhen the liver sustains severe scarring and cannot regenerate replacement tissueis known as cirrhosis of the liver, and this is responsible for approximately 25,000 deaths every year in North America.
The classic symptoms of liver disease
The most frequent and common symptoms of liver diseaseinclude:
- Jaundice: the yellowing of the skin which can often also be evidenced in the whites of the eyes
- Increased tendency to perspire excessively
- Black circles beneath the eyes
- Inflamed soles of feet and palms
- Brown blemishes on the skin
- Discolored stools
- Flushed facial appearance
- Swollen eyeballs
- Pain – which is felt in the uppermost right hand quadrant of the abdomen
- Bad body odor
- Coated tongue
- Bad breath
Some people also suffer from weight loss and fatigue.
These symptoms of liver disease are closely related to the hepatic disease in general. But there are also many specific,different, diseases or illnesses that affect the liver, and each of these has its own specific symptoms.
The symptoms of liver disease associated with gallstones, often include vomiting, (having eaten a greasy or fatty meal); pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen; and if the gallbladder becomes infected, this will also bring the fever.
Cirrhosis of the liver
If the hepatic disease progresses and reaches the stage of cirrhosis, the following symptoms of liver diseasemight be present.
- Enlarged male breasts.This condition is known as gynecomatia and can be brought about by upsetting the balance of sex hormones, and an increase in the hormone estradiol.
- Erectile dysfunction.The upsetting of the balance of sex hormones can cause the testicles to shrink and bring a reduction in sex drive.
- Decrease in muscle tissue.A compromised liver will also reduce its production of proteins, and this can lead to the wasting of muscle.
- A tendency to bruise more easily.This is because the liver’s function to efficiently clot the blood is no longer available.
- Itchiness.Itching can be caused as a result of bile salts being deposited in the skin.
- Feeling confused. When the levels of ammonia in the bloodstream become too high feelings of confusion can arise. This ammonia is normally removed from the bloodstream by a healthy liver, but when liver health is compromised, the patient is more likely to experience feelings of confusion.
- Feelings of lethargy. This is also caused by the increase in blood ammonia.
- Swollen stomach veins.As theblood pressure increases with a cirrhotic liver, the blood flow to that liver can be compromised. This may result in a swelling to the veins around the stomach area.
The unusual metabolization of fats
The abnormal metabolization of fats (your metabolism) is another of the prime symptoms of liver disease, which can be manifested in:
- Decreased levels of HDL cholesterol,and elevated levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, at the same time.
- Blood pressure or hypertension caused by your blood vessels becoming blocked by fatty deposits. This can also potentially lead to heart attack and stroke.
- Lymphomas and fatty tumors developing in the skin.
- Significant weight gain that could lead to obesity.
- Difficulty in losing weight, even though you may be dieting.
- A slow metabolism.
- Bloated stomach.
- The appearance of cellulite all over the body.
- Developing a roll of fat around the upper abdomen a.k.a. your own armchair.
Symptoms to look for with your digestive system
You can also see the symptoms of liver disease in relation to the digestive system, such as:
- The inability to tolerate alcohol
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Indigestion and/or reflux
- The inability to tolerate fatty food
Symptoms relating to blood sugar levels
Some of the symptoms of liver damage that relate to blood sugar are:
- The onset of type II diabetes, in later life
- Craving for sweet things
- Hypoglycaemia -unstable levels of sugar in the blood
Symptoms relating to your immune system
Poor liver health can also affect your immune system, some of the symptoms how to detect it are:
- An increase in the incidence of viral and bacterial infections
- Developing fibromyalgia
- Developing skin rashes
- Developing new, allergies such as hay fever, hives, and asthma
- Excessive itching
- An increased incidence of autoimmune disease
Give your liver the chance to recover with spotting the symptoms of liver damage
The health of your liver, is essential for any type of healthy lifestyle,it is not only crucial for a continued holistic health lifestyle. The power of the liver to heal itself from many ailments caused bynon-alcoholic or alcoholic fatty liver is quite amazing, that is if the the disease is spotted early.So now you know what the potentialsymptoms of liver disease are, and it is absolutely crucial to keep a watchful eye out for them.