Liver damage can occur at any time. Here are some signs that your liver needs attention. Don’t ignore them.
Just like your arms and legs, your internal organs work non-stop inside your body. However, we often fail to notice that their well-being requires just as much care as your skin and limbs. An unhealthy gut can cause symptoms, but the liver is one of the silent organs. Even when people are close to liver damage or failure, their cries for help are not heard.
Your liver plays a key role in digestion, nutrient synthesis, and metabolic function. Located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, the liver filters blood from the digestive tract before it is sent to the rest of your body. Another function of this is to detoxify chemicals and improve drug metabolism.
When liver function declines, your body begins to show signs of damage. However, many of us do not recognize them. To learn more about these alarming signals, we spoke to Dr. Sumit Bhatia, Senior Consultant Gastroenterology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
Early signs of liver damage
- Changes in eye and skin color (jaundice)
Poor liver health can cause eye color changes. Over time, yellow eyes become yellow due to the accumulation of yellow substances in the red blood cells. If you develop symptoms such as jaundice, your liver damage must be at an advanced stage.
- Nausea and vomiting
The human liver is capable of removing toxins. Therefore, frequent nausea and vomiting are the first signs of liver disease and should not be taken lightly.
- Abdominal swelling and pain
Liver problems often disrupt the body’s blood flow. Therefore, it puts pressure on the stomach and other parts, causing pain and swelling in the abdominal area. If you notice sudden abdominal swelling that doesn’t go away on its own, see your doctor right away.
- Pale (mud-colored) stools
If the liver is not producing enough bile or if its flow is blocked in some way, your stools will be clay-colored.
- Black urine
The color of your urine tells a lot about your health. Dark urine indicates dehydration, but it also indicates the presence of toxic substances in the body that indicate liver disease.
- Swelling of the feet
An unhealthy liver can cause swelling in the ankles and feet. So, if you’re experiencing unexplained swelling in your legs, it could be due to an underlying liver problem. Liver disease can also be hereditary.
- Itchy skin
High levels of bile salts in the liver can cause itchy skin and should not be ignored. This can be the first symptom of liver disease.
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
In liver problems, the body loses its ability to break down and absorb nutrients, and you don’t feel as hungry as usual. Loss of appetite can make you feel weak throughout the day.