What are the symptoms and risk factors of liver disease?

What are the symptoms and risk factors of liver disease?

What are the symptoms and risk factors of liver disease?

What are the symptoms of liver disease?

The symptoms of liver disease are often dependent on the type of condition causing the disease. Some patients in stage one may not progress to the next stage due to their liver’s ability to naturally heal itself or if an accurate, early diagnosis of liver inflammation or liver disease is made and appropriate treatment is administered. Other patients may only notice the symptoms when it is too late to ensure a positive prognosis during stage three or four.

The following are considered the early warning symptoms and signs of liver disease and can include:

  • Jaundice (Yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Abdominal swelling and pain
  • Swelling of the ankles and legs from fluid build-up, this is known as oedema and can also result in breathing issues
  • Bloody, pale or very dark coloured stool
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Personality changes due to altered chemicals or a build-up of toxins in the brain
  • Bruising easily due to loss of blood clotting factors made by the liver

The above symptoms and signs are often confused with a number of other disorders and problems, thus making a liver failure diagnosis difficult. The patient may be dizzy, drowsy or disorientated at this stage and may go into a coma.  

If liver disease is related to alcohol abuse, then the patient may develop jaundice or battle with their mental abilities and concentration due to the build-up of toxins in the brain. The spleen may also become enlarged, the stomach may bleed or the patient may suffer from renal (kidney) failure. It is also possible for the individual to develop liver cancer.

When to see a doctor

Should you notice any of the above symptoms persisting and they become bothersome, then you should consult with your doctor, particularly if you suffer from severe abdominal pain.  

What are the risk factors of liver disease?

There are a number of factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing liver disease. These can include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Sharing needles
  • Having unprotected sex
  • Body piercings or tattoos (as with sharing needles and having unprotected sex, this increases the risk of spreading hepatitis infections)
  • Diabetes
  • Being exposed to toxins or chemicals
  • Obesity
  • High levels of fatty acids (triglycerides) in the blood
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