Liver disease symptoms

November 12, 2012

Liver disease symptoms

Liver disease symptoms and signs, even when the disease has reached a severe level, are often almost unnoticeable. Once the build up of fatty acids in the liver has reached a critical level alcohol liver disease symptoms may begin to manifest, these include -

  • Physical weakness
  • Loss of appetite, a feeling of fullness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • A general feeling of being unwell

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis may vary, these may include -

  • Jaundice appearance of the eyes and skin
  • Pain or tenderness of the abdomen
  • Spider veins on the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Cirrhosis of the liver causes liver disease symptoms to develop in two distinct stages.

Early stage symptoms occur when the liver begins to lose some function, these include -

  • Tiredness
  • Physical weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Itchy skin
  • Red blotches on the palms of the hands
  • Sleeping disorders

End stage liver disease symptoms due to cirrhosis begin to develop when the liver has lost most or all of its function (liver failure), these symptoms include -

  • Jaundice
  • Hair loss
  • Edema of the legs, feet and abdomen
  • Frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums
  • Prolonged bleeding after an injury or trauma; increased tendency to bruise
  • Dark urine
  • Stools that are tarry in consistency and/or pale in color
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pain in the right shoulder area
  • Loss of libido
  • Fatigue accompanied by dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Frequent infections accompanied by fever and/or chills
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Personality changes – due to the build-up of toxins in the bloodstream
  • Clumsiness, staggering when walking
  • Upper body weight loss
  • Increased sensitivity to medications and alcohol

A hidden problem

Because liver disease symptoms are often mistaken for another medical condition – or missed entirely, it is essential to ask for screening if you believe you are at risk of developing any kind of liver disease.

Most cases of liver cancer appear to be related to the development of liver disease connected to the excessive use of alcohol – anyone who misuses alcohol should seek the advice of their medical practitioner in order to determine if they are at risk of developing liver disease and to be properly screened. Your doctor may recommend a liver function test be carried out if you have a history of alcohol abuse. If you are unsure about your alcohol habits consider the following acronym, CAGE, -

  • Cut down – have you ever considered it would be wise to cut down on your drinking?
  • Annoyed – have you ever felt annoyed or irritated by comments made concerning your drinking habits?
  • Guilt – does your alcohol consumption make you feel guilty?
  • Eye-opener – have you ever drunk alcohol first thing in the morning in order to recover from a hangover and/or steady your nerves?

Answering yes to one or more of these questions may indicate that you have a problem with alcohol abuse and should seek the advice of your medical practitioner.


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