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6 Loud & Clear Signs That Mean Something Is Not Right With Your Liver

posted on 6/20/2016 Facebook Facebook

It may weigh only a few pounds, but the role of the liver in maintaining your health is colossal. From producing bile to aid digestion, clearing harmful toxins from the blood and storing glucose to fulfill the body’s energy needs, the importance of liver cannot be emphasized enough. However, most of us often forget to care for this organ, until it starts to give you troubles. Mention organ failure and people instantly point to kidney diseases. However, did you know that kidney and liver failure go hand in hand most of the times? 

Liver failure - arising mainly due to cancer or cirrhosis - is a leading cause of death among Indians. According to recent statistics, liver diseases affect one in 5 Indians. Fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis etc. are some of the conditions that affect the liver and can be easily prevented. Cancer of the liver is also emerging as a major health offender these days. However, what tops the chart for claiming the highest number of lives is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). 

Research has brought to attention an interesting fact about NAFLD—it is a genetic disease. The disease can run in families. However, don’t be worried as yet since it is highly preventable. Knowing your risks, what symptoms to watch out for and taking adequate steps to reduce the risks can help prevent the disease. 

Watch Out These Signs
A malfunctioning liver throws out several signals to highlight a possible condition and discovering these in time can save you a lot of distress. Here are six signs that your liver cries when in suffering: 
1. Nausea & Vomiting
While both nausea and vomiting themselves are not considered as serious medical conditions, they can definitely point to an ongoing trouble in the body, which can be of a serious nature. A faulty liver which is unable to eliminate toxins from the body can increase digestive troubles and cause unexplained nausea. A reaction to the presence of excess waste products in the body, vomiting is a definite indication of a liver problem. 

2. Loss Of Appetite
One of the early signs of liver damage is a growing aversion to food. This may be a result of faulty bile production which is imperative for digestion. When your food is not digested properly, it often leads to loss of appetite and sometimes even severe weight loss. 

3. Fatigue & Tiredness
While most of you may conveniently dismiss fatigue or generalized tiredness as a side effect of stressful life, it could be a good camouflage for a liver disorder. A defective liver is unable to process and eliminate the toxins from the body which end up circulating freely in your blood. This could conflict with your oxygen levels and make you feel tired all the time. 

4. Urine & Stool Changes
If you observe any changes in the color of your urine or stool it could point to a liver damage. A well-functioning liver releases bile into the stool, giving it the normal brown color. However, a damaged liver affects the production of bile and can make your stool appear grey, pale or clay colored. Similarly, darker color urine indicates that the liver is unable to eliminate bilirubin via excretion through the kidneys. 

5. Skin Changes
Does your skin feel too sensitive lately? Experts believe that another classic symptom which can point to a liver insufficiency is increased skin sensitivity. Your skin may feel itchy, flaky and oversensitive to touch. It may also bruise easily since the liver is involved in producing proteins vital for blood clotting.

6. Abdominal Swelling & Pain
Liver cirrhosis can lead to a developing a potbelly, due to retention of fluid in the abdominal cavity. This condition is known as ascites and is also often accompanied by other symptoms like portal hypertension. Cirrhosis can also result in severe abdominal pain. It typically comes in the upper right abdomen or just under the lower right ribs and can be throbbing or stabbing. 

Want To Prevent Liver Diseases?
A personal genomics test can help determine your susceptibility to develop liver diseases or even prove as a diagnostic aid in confirming an impending diagnosis. Know more about personal genomics tests here. 

References:
1. van der Plas SM, Hansen BE, de Boer JB, Stijnen T, Passchier J, de Man RA, Schalm SW. The Liver Disease Symptom Index 2.0; validation of a disease-specific questionnaire. Qual Life Res. 2004 Oct;13(8):1469-81. PubMed PMID: 15503842.
2. Swain MG. Fatigue in liver disease: pathophysiology and clinical management. Can J Gastroenterol. 2006 Mar;20(3):181-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 16550262; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2582971.
3. Newton JL, Jones DE. Managing systemic symptoms in chronic liver disease. J Hepatol. 2012;56 Suppl 1:S46-55. doi: 10.1016/S0168-8278(12)60006-3. Review. PubMed PMID: 22300465.
4. Lomonaco R, Sunny NE, Bril F, Cusi K. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: current issues and novel treatment approaches. Drugs. 2013 Jan;73(1):1-14. doi:10.1007/s40265-012-0004-0. Review. PubMed PMID: 23329465.
Romeo S, Kozlitina J, Xing C, Pertsemlidis A, Cox D, Pennacchio LA, Boerwinkle E, Cohen JC, Hobbs HH. Genetic variation in PNPLA3 confers susceptibility to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Nat Genet. 2008 Dec;40(12):1461-5. doi: 10.1038/ng.257. Epub 2008 Sep 25. PubMed PMID: 18820647; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2597056.

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