Diseases and Conditions Feature

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Damage

There are a variety of different causes of liver damage. For some, it is caused by genetics, making an individual prone to it, exposure to toxic chemicals or viruses, or a long-term disease that can have a negative impact on your liver for the remainder of one’s life, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

Liver damage can greatly influence your life as the liver is one of the vital organs as it helps with food digestion, the absorption of nutrients, and the elimination of toxic substances from the body.

Keep reading below to learn about the top ten most common signs of liver damage.

Swollen Abdomen

One major sign that you may be suffering from liver disease is a swollen abdomen. When liver disease progresses and because severe, this is referred to cirrhosis and can lead to fluid building up within the abdomen. The root cause of this build-up of fluids, also known as ascites, is caused by the retention of albumin and proteins in the blood. The swelling of the abdomen could be so extreme that the person could appear pregnant. Cirrhosis is not the only cause of ascites; however, it is the most common. In some cases, the abdomen is not the only part of the body that swells. Sometimes, the ankles also swell. The reason for this is that gravity causes the fluid that has accumulated elsewhere down to the ankles.

Although the building up of fluids is more common in chronic cases of liver disease, it is also common in acute liver disease. One way to treat ascites is the use of diuretics, which helps the body release excess fluid, and limiting sodium intake. When diuretics and a reduced sodium intake are not sufficient, in more extreme cases, a needle may be used to drain fluid from the abdomen. If none of these treatments seem to be successful, more drastic measures may be necessary. The most serious of which being the insertion of a shunt or even a liver transplant.