The liver is a super important organ that is responsible for many functions in our bodies — it can be fatal if it fails. Currently, an estimated 5.5 million Americans suffer from chronic liver disease or cirrhosis. So it’s important to know the signs of liver damage to warn you of something serious.
Bright Side compiled 8 signs of a damaged liver that show why you need to go to the doctor immediately.
1. You may experience your skin and eyes getting yellow.
If you have this symptom, your liver is likely in big trouble. This condition is known as jaundice which causes a yellow pigmentation of the skin, whites of the eyes, and mucus. The yellow color appears because of excess bilirubin that has a yellowish-orange pigment found in liver bile.
When a liver is healthy, it easily eliminates bilirubin. But if it’s seriously damaged, you literally turn yellow.
2. You may feel fatigued and tired.
It’s not just basic tiredness but something more. Fatigue is characterized by a mental and physical lack of energy. You don’t have the motivation to do anything. Sometimes you can feel it only in the morning and it feels like torture to get up out of bed. Other times you can feel it throughout the whole day.
3. You may have abdominal swelling.
Abdominal swelling can be one of the more uncomfortable symptoms that causes pain. It happens when fluid is retained in the abdomen. In some cases, your belly can become so bloated it looks like you’re pregnant. As a consequence of the accumulation of liquid, you also may have swollen legs and ankles.
4. You may have a lack of appetite and weight loss.
Usually, doctors define this as more than 10% of weight loss. Such conditions can also be connected to abdominal swelling. When you’re very bloated, you don’t really feel like eating. It’s very difficult to eat because each time you may feel pain.
5. You may notice spider angiomas on your skin.
A spider angioma looks like a web of small, dilated arterioles located very close to the surface of the skin. If you find them on the upper half of the chest, hands, neck, and face, it can be a sign of liver disease.
6. You may find bruises on your body.
If you have a damaged liver, protein production stops or becomes slower. It causes bad blood clotting. That’s why people with liver damage will bleed or bruise more easily than a healthy person.
7. Your urine may have a dark color.
The shades can be different but in general, the color of your urine will look darker than usual. You may experience a brown, dark orange or amber color. It happens because of the same excess bilirubin in the liver that can’t break it down.
8. You may feel itchy.
Of course, everyone can feel itchy sometimes! But in cases where your liver is in trouble, you may experience more itchy skin that is more localized. It happens because of toxins that the liver can’t filter anymore. When your body is very intoxicated, you may feel super itchy, especially at night.
How do you take care of your liver? Please feel free to write a comment and share how you protect your liver from damage.
Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for Bright Side