The liver functions to filter blood from the digestive tract and remove toxins form the body. Liver disease can be caused by many factors, from infections to alcohol abuse. Left untreated, liver disease can lead to liver failure resulting in the need for a liver transplant. There are many ways to prevent liver disease - reducing alcohol intake, eating a fat-free diet and avoiding drug use being the best preventative measures- but early diagnosis of liver disease is the most important factor in treating the problem. If you experience any of the symptoms below, or feel you may be at risk from liver disease due to family history or excess alcohol consumption, a consultation with a hepatologist could prevent liver problems worsening
Thirst, constipation and urinary changes: Mild jaundice can cause excess thirst and constipation as well as causing urine to darken and smell stronger. Needing to urinate more often can also be a symptom of jaundice and liver disease.
Yellowing tongue and eyeballs: The first signs of jaundice are the tongue and whites of the eye turning a yellowish shade. These symptoms should immediately be checked by a doctor.
Yellow skin: If skin starts to turn a pale shade of yellow, or appears slightly gray and discolored, you are likely suffering from jaundice. Advanced jaundice causes the skin to turn a dark yellow/pale orange color and requires immediate treatment.
Bloody/Pale stools: If stools become pale or bloody, this usually indicates a problem with the bile production of the liver.
Loss of appetite: Liver disease frequently causes a decrease in appetite which leads to rapid weight loss.
Swollen abdomen: A distended stomach is one of the common signs of liver disease.
Chronic fatigue: Feeling unusually tired is a sign of many illnesses but could be a symptom of liver problems.
Itching: When the liver fails to remove and filter toxins from the blood properly, patients experience severe itching caused by a build up of chemicals in the body.
Blood tests and ultrasound scans will be conducted to diagnose liver disease or an infection in the liver.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.