Learn the symptoms of liver disease – you can save a life!

Information is power, and this is also true for our health. If you are able to recognize the symptoms of diseases yourself, you will be able to save your life or the lives of others.

The key is to realize in time if something is wrong, because the earlier we start to treat a disease, the higher the chance of recovery and survival.

Take care of your liver

The liver, which is actually an overgrown gland, is the largest internal organ, and it plays an important role in almost all physiological functions in our body. A healthy adult liver makes up 2 percent of a person’s body weight, that is, it weighs between 1.2 and 1.5 kg.

The liver is a remarkable organ with an incredible ability to recover. However, if you don’t take care of it, over-medication, fatty foods or alcohol consumption can make it sick over time.

The liver’s primary function is to detoxify the body, as it breaks down toxic substances and fatty acids, and it plays a role in preserving normal blood sugar levels. It also breaks down glycogen, and it contributes greatly to the normal functioning of the immune system. It filters out dead red blood cells, and it plays an important role in the metabolism of vitamins as well. It produces bile, which is essential for proper digestion.

If something is wrong with your liver, you may not notice it for a long time, as liver diseases are almost asymptomatic at first. For a time, the liver keeps its ability to heal damaged cells, but if it continues to be damaged by toxic substances, the inflamed areas die off, and scar tissue is formed, a phenomenon called fibrosis. In case of a liver tumor, it is usually a metastasis of cancer in other parts of the body such as intestinal cancer, as the liver attracts cancerous cells by its attempts to neutralize them. Primary liver cancer is rare, and it is mostly caused by chronic B and C hepatitis infections.

The symptoms:

  • Jaundice – the skin, eyes, and nails turn yellow
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blackish, brownish discoloration skin around the eye
  • Brown spots on the skin
  • Colorless stool
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Frequent nausea
  • Unpleasant breath and body odor
  • Painful sensation on the right side of the abdomen
  • Coated tongue
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

If any of the above symptoms seem familiar, you need to seek medical attention, in order to begin treatment on time.
The symptoms of liver disease are also accompanied by gallstones, which often cause vomiting and pain. If the gall bladder gets infected, fever can occur as well.

If you have an advanced liver disease and cirrhosis has started, you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Breast swelling in males – this disease is called gynecomastia, and it is caused by the imbalance of sex hormones and an increase in the female hormone estradiol.
  • Erectile dysfunction – the imbalance of sex hormones can lead to a shrinking of the testicles, which can also affect sex life.
  • Decreased muscle mass – this symptom is a result of decreased protein production by a damaged liver, which may lead to muscle loss.
  • Itching – bile salts are deposited in the skin, causing itching.
  • Confusion – when the amount of ammonia in the blood stream increases, confusion may occur. Normally, ammonia is easily removed from the blood stream by a healthy liver, but when disturbances occur in the liver.
  • Lethargy – This is also caused by the ammonia accumulating in the blood.

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