As one of the most integral organs of the body, your liver does a lot for your health. Your liver has the biggest responsibility of streamlining your metabolic function by converting nutrients from your diet for energy and flushing out toxic substances to keep you out of harm’s way.
Since the liver is responsible for regulating multiple internal functions, it is natural for your body to suffer when your liver is in trouble. Your body often tells you that all you have to do is listen if something is wrong.
There are many telltale signs of your liver not functioning properly. While most of these hints are subtle, some are extremely hard not to notice.
Here are a few top liver warning signs you need to keep your eye out for.
Little to No Appetite
Are you suddenly experiencing a substantial decline in your appetite? You first used to chow down food like a hungry beast; now, you don’t feel hungry at all. A loss of appetite is one of the most common warning signs of liver damage. Therefore, you should be concerned about a significant dip in your appetite or your non-existent hunger pangs.
Increase in Aches and Pains
Are you experiencing extreme body pain even though you’re not engaging in any demanding physical activities? Biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disease of the liver, can be a major reason behind your body’s pain. Another main symptom of this condition includes itchy skin. So, if you experience bone, muscle, or joint pain coupled with itchy skin, you should visit your doctor.
If you’re bloating isn’t occurring due to a big meal, then it might be due to the fluid buildup in your abdomen. Known as ascites, this fluid build-up, and abdominal swelling is an indication of liver damage. If your bloating doesn’t subside within a few days, you should visit a doctor.
Dark-colored urine is a major sign of concern in general. Bilirubin is a substance present in your blood responsible for yellowing your skin, eyes, and even urine. Elevated levels of bilirubin are a telltale sign of liver damage.
Have a constant feeling of lethargy no matter what you do? Does your body feel tired even after a good night’s sleep? Liver disease might be to blame. Chronic fatigue is a prominent sign of liver damage that can make it difficult for you to function daily.
Your skin begins to thin as you get older, causing your body to bruise more easily. However, if you’re young and there’s no other explanation behind the bruises showing up on your body, then it might be an indicator of liver damage. Liver disease causes unexplained marks and bruises to appear on your body.
Swollen Legs or Ankles
Alcohol consumption is not the only cause of liver disease. Liver problems often also occur as a result of obesity. One of the main warning signs that are quite unexpected is swollen legs and ankles. If your ankles and legs seem inflamed and puffy, you aren’t sure why you should visit your doctor.
Inconsistent Sleep Patterns
There are undoubtedly many reasons for disrupted sleep patterns. Liver problems, specifically liver cirrhosis, are one of the main culprits of disturbed sleep patterns. It makes it very hard to get a good night’s rest, even if you try all the tried-and-tested methods to put yourself to bed.
Forgetting small things here is pretty normal, but if your memory has become really foggy lately, there is probably a reason behind that. Liver failure keeps your liver from removing toxins from the blood, causing them to build up in the brain. As a result, those with liver failure also experience serious memory loss.
Biliary cholangitis is a chronic liver disease that doesn’t have very prominent symptoms but can be quite fatal. One of the subtle symptoms of this disease is itchy skin. Many factors cause itchy skin, but if it’s becoming a regular occurrence, you might want to get it checked out to be on the safe side.
Yellow Eyes and Skin
If your skin or the white portion of your eye starts turning yellow, then it might be due to jaundice. High levels of bilirubin, a substance secreted by the liver in the blood, cause jaundice. Not only is this discoloration scary, but it is also a major cause of concern in regards to liver damage.
Sudden Weight Fluctuations
Are you experiencing huge fluctuations in your weight? If you’re rapidly losing or gaining weight, it could be a sign of liver problems. Rapid weight gain and weight loss often occur due to liver cirrhosis, a disease that develops and replaces healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, preventing your liver from working properly. However, out-of-the-blue weight loss also often occurs due to hepatitis C, leading to liver inflammation.
Have your palms turned red for no reason? There are chances that you might have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This disease occurs as a result of excess fat being stored in the liver cells. This can even happen to those who barely drink or totally avoid alcohol.
The Bottom Line
Now that you are aware of all the top liver warning signs, you should be extremely careful. Always check what your body is trying to tell you, and watch out for any of the above symptoms. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make sure to visit your doctor!