What Are The Signs & Symptoms of An Unhealthy Liver?
The liver is the largest organ of the human body. It can be found under the lower rib cage on the right side of the stomach. It is a vital organ that performs numerous essential tasks related to metabolism, energy storage and detoxification of wastes. To be more precise, the liver helps maintain a healthy level of blood sugar, cleans the blood by getting rid of toxins from the bloodstream as a result of alcohol consumption and unhealthy diet and regulates the digestive system. Therefore, it becomes important to take good care of one’s liver in order to maintain the overall health.
Liver disease refers to any condition that affects the liver and its functions. Since the liver is responsible for numerous critical functions in the body, the loss of any of those functions can cause significant damage. The damages caused to the liver can lead to a life-threatening disease such as liver cancer. Also, people who are unaware of the early symptoms are likely to be diagnosed with liver failure only when the symptoms are severe. Therefore, it is crucial to identify when the early signs and symptoms of liver failure occur in order to seek help and prevent further damage. According to the medical specialists at Yashoda Superspeciality Hospital & Cancer Institute, signs and symptoms of liver disease differ depending on the exact cause of the underlying liver condition.
Signs & symptoms of liver disease
Yellowish appearance of skin and eyes
Jaundice is a health condition wherein the skin and sclera or the whites of the eyes turn yellow and the urine darker due to abnormally high levels of bilirubin present in the bloodstream. It is a sign that the liver is unable to absorb the bilirubin and move the bile to the intestine in order to remove it from the body. Jaundice is one of the most common symptoms of a liver failure.
Itching or pruritus is one of the early signs and symptoms of a liver disease. However, not everyone with liver disease develops it. The presence of high levels of bile salt deposited under the skin can cause itchiness on the skin.
When the liver becomes weak, it is unable to make proteins to help clot the blood and the increased pressure in the veins leads to significant blood loss from vomiting or lost blood passing through the gastrointestinal tract. You may notice blood in your vomit and stools.
Since the liver is the key player in the functioning of the digestive system, any damage to the liver can affect your appetite, causing you to lose weight unintentionally. Abdominal pain, nausea and weight loss are experienced by people with a chronic liver condition.
Confusion and loss in memory
As the liver is unable to function properly, it fails to remove the toxins from the blood. The deposition of toxins in the brain causes confusion and loss in memory. With this liver condition, people can also experience constant changes in mood and personality, difficulty in concentrating and loss of memory.
A damaged liver may fail to regulate the production and breakdown of hormones in both men and women. It can lead to enlarged breasts or gynecomastia and shrunken testicles in males, whereas the menstrual cycle may get affected in females who will experience either heavy menstrual bleeding or missed periods.
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, do not panic. There are a number of measures you can take to improve your liver health. Seek medical assistance if you are worried about any persistent signs and symptoms. Make an appointment with our medical experts at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre.
Measures to maintain a healthy liver
Our Hepatologists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre reiterate the importance of maintaining a healthy liver for the overall good health and long life. People who have problems with liver are mostly unaware of the symptoms and as the liver disease progresses, its ability to function diminishes to the extent that it can be life-threatening. This demands a greater need to focus on keeping your liver healthy. If possible, the best way to fight liver disease is to avoid it in the first place.
Here are some tips for you to follow in order to maintain a healthy liver:
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol is the most common cause of liver failure. Overindulgence of alcohol can directly damage the liver cells and cause cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the late stage of liver disease in which the healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and the liver is permanently damaged. Although it is best to abstain from alcohol for your liver, you need to start by limiting your alcohol intake. Also avoid mixing alcohol and medicines as it can harm your liver even if they are not taken together. Consult our specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre about what amount of alcohol is right for you and they will advise you on the basis of your condition.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, you are at risk of having a fatty liver that can lead to liver disease. Obesity leads to the abnormal storage of fat in the liver that is detrimental to your liver health. Therefore, you need to keep your weight in check in order to reduce liver fat. Change your eating habits by replacing fast foods with freshly cooked home-made foods. Also, start exercising daily and consistently to lose weight and reduce liver fat.
Eating a healthy diet helps the liver perform efficiently and effectively. Eat fibre-rich foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain breads, rice and cereals. Include garlic and avocados in your diet as they help the liver to get rid of toxins. Beetroots and broccoli are also good for your liver. Also, turmeric is beneficial to your liver as it helps in the production of bile. Avoid consuming processed foods, foods having high sugar or salt in high content, saturated fat and refined carbohydrates.
Stop taking contaminated food and water
If you want keep your liver healthy, you have to avoid eating foods at food joints and drink juice or water from places where the standards of hygiene are questionable. Consuming contaminated food and water can cause jaundice and Hepatitis E which can damage the liver. It is also advisable to drink water after boiling it as it good for your liver health.
Avoid these behaviours
Do not indulge in unprotected and unsafe sex. Do not forget to use contraceptives to prevent getting Hepatitis B. If you decide to get a tattoo or body piercing, then go to the reputed tattoo parlours wherein strict hygiene standards are maintained. Do not indulge in hallucinogenic drugs and do not share needles for injecting drugs.
In addition to following these preventive measures for a healthy liver, we advise you to get Liver Functioning Test (LFT) done regularly and consult your doctor before taking any iron supplements. Please visit us at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre for any further queries
regarding your liver’s health. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any severe symptoms. Meet our specialists Dr. Sushrut Singh and Dr. Manish Kumar Gupta for any guidance and treatment of liver-related conditions. Our hepatologists are the best in Delhi NCR.