Do You Know the Signs of Liver Damage?

The liver is an extremely important organ that plays a role in numerous functions in the body. It detoxifies, regulates hormones, takes part in protein synthesis and more. Therefore, it’s no surprise that when this organ begins to fail, many problems occur within the body. Essentially, the body becomes imbalanced.

There are several types of liver damage, but the two most common are cirrhosis and hepatitis. There are also many different causes for liver damage. Some forms of liver disease, such as hemochromatosis, are caused by genetics. Others, such as autoimmune hepatitis, are caused by autoimmune disorders when the body may begin to attack the liver, causing inflammation. Drugs, infections and toxins also damage the liver, leaving it vulnerable to chronic liver disease. Finally, cancer is as capable of attacking the liver as it is of attacking virtually any other organ in the body.

Here are some of the signs of liver damage. It is recommended that you seek help immediately if you’re experiencing any combination of these symptoms.

10. Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)

If your skin or the whites of your eyes appear to be yellow in color, this may be a sign of jaundice.  This can occur when there is too much bilirubin in your system.

Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is formed by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver. Normally, the liver gets rid of bilirubin. But, if your liver is damaged, then it will be unable to get rid of bilirubin, resulting in jaundice.

Some types of liver damage which may cause jaundice are: cirrhosis, hepatitis and drugs. However, jaundice usually clears up when the underlying cause is treated.

sfam_photo / Shutterstock.com
sfam_photo / Shutterstock.com

9. Swelling in the legs and ankles

Albumin is a multi-functional protein that’s made in the liver. Most of it is found in the blood and it functions to maintain oncotic pressure. This means that it’s responsible for keeping water inside the blood vessels (since water is attracted to the protein). So, you can imagine that when the liver is damaged and starts producing fewer albumin, it can wreak havoc on your body. In particular, the low amounts of albumin in the blood cause the water in the plasma to leak into the empty space surrounding the cells. This results in fluid accumulation, and therefore swelling, in the legs and ankles. This condition is also known as edema.

phugunfire / Shutterstock.com
phugunfire / Shutterstock.com

8. Dark urine

If your liver is damaged and unable to breakdown bilirubin, then your urine will be dark due to the excess bilirubin excreted through the kidneys. If you have urine that’s dark in color (orange, amber or brown), it’s likely that something isn’t right.

Having a damaged liver can also cause your stool to be unusually light. This may be due to a lack of bile production by the liver. Bile, under normal conditions, gives stool its color.

haryigit / Shutterstock.com
haryigit / Shutterstock.com
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