What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Disease?

Posted by Manipal Bangalore
June 27, 2017

The liver helps remove toxic substances from the body, and so it is vital to the functioning of the body. Some of the symptoms of liver disease that you need to watch out for include the following.

Swelling of the abdomen

For serious diseases such as cirrhosis, the swelling of the abdomen is one of the most noticeable symptoms of liver disease. This is caused by fluid retention. While liver disease treatment is ongoing you might need to cut back on consumption of salts to reduce the symptoms.

Yellowing of eyes and skin

When the skin and the whites of the eyes take on a yellow tone, this can signal liver disease. This happens because the pigment bile, produced by the liver, increases in the blood stream.

Rashes and itching

If your skin develops rashes and itching, and you also notice changes to skin tone, then you should see your doctor and get tested for liver disease. In particular, if the itching does not subside no matter what you do, and there are reddish patches on your skin, this could be an indication of liver disease.

Dark urine and light stools

The accumulation of bilirubin, a pigment found in bile can cause the urine to take on a darker hue and stools to become lighter in color. While there can be other reasons for these changes in color, most notably, pigments in the food you consume, or lack of adequate hydration, if you are experiencing other symptoms associated with liver disease, it is a good idea to consult your doctor.

Pain in the stomach

Pain in the stomach can have many causes. However, if you experience persistent, throbbing pain in the right side of the abdomen, you might want to be checked for liver disease. Pain may be accompanied by other symptoms of liver disease.

Vomiting and nausea

Many people feel nauseous seemingly without a cause. Whether before or after meals, whatever the time of the day, an onset of nausea and vomiting indicates liver disease. Your doctor may first check you for digestive disorders and then run tests for liver disease to get a diagnosis.

Tiredness and forgetfulness

if you keep feeling tired no matter how well you slept, and if you are constantly feeling forgetful, then liver disease could be a possible cause. You might find it difficult to focus on tasks that require mental concentration.

Lack of appetite

If you don’t feel like eating your meals, no matter how much you enjoyed them before, and if you have been fasting for a while, it could be because of your liver. In instances of undiagnosed liver disease, patients are often malnourished because they have been unable to eat their meals properly for a long time.

An early diagnosis can improve the outcomes of treatment. if you are experiencing two or more of the symptoms mentioned above, you can consult your doctor for getting tested for possible liver disease. Getting treatment early on will help resolve the problem quickly, without leading to further complications.

Facts on Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is necessary when the liver of the patient is too damaged for repair. A liver transplant surgery replaces the damaged liver with a healthy liver from a donor.

Why liver transplant is needed –

Liver disease can cause the liver to become severely damaged. Most cases of liver transplant are caused by cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is a disease that causes the liver to become severely damaged, so much so that it is incapable of flushing out toxins from the body. Cirrhosis can be caused by many diseases. Some diseases include Hepatitis, autoimmune disorders. Also, hereditary predispositions may also cause cirrhosis. Excess consumption of alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors of cirrhosis. Before recommending transplant, the doctor may try to remedy the situation by asking the patient to stop consuming alcohol for the long term. If this does not work, liver transplant may be necessary.

Tumors of the liver also require liver transplant. The tumors may be benign or cancerous. In particular, if the patient is already suffering from liver disease of some kind, the tumors can have serious consequences. For patients with liver cancer, a liver transplant in the initial stages of the disease can help treat cancer.

In newborn children, liver failure is often caused by malfunctions of the bile duct. This leads to cirrhosis and thus necessitates transplant of the liver.

Who is suitable for liver transplant –

Before recommending a liver transplant, the doctor will determine if the surgery is suitable for the patient. People with heart disease are not suitable for surgical procedures of any kind as surgery may cause complications. Also, infections in the body or rampant and continuing use of alcohol renders a transplant unnecessary, as the problem is likely to persist even with a liver transplant. Doctors will determine if you are suitable for the transplant, by checking if you are healthy enough for a surgery. They will have you undergo lab tests and check various reports to see if you are a suitable candidate for liver transplant.

Finding a donor –

As with any procedure involving organ transplant, a liver transplant surgery requires the use of donor organ. Finding a donor, thankfully, is not as difficult as some other organ transplant surgeries. This is because there is the choice of using donor liver from a deceased person or a living donor. In case of living donor transplant, the transplant is performed using a portion of the liver removed from the donor and transplanted into the patient. The liver, unlike many other organs of the human body, regrows to its normal size over time, allowing both the donor and recipient to recover full use of their liver quickly. The donor does not experience any long-term inconvenience and can resume daily activities within few weeks of surgery. The donor has to have the same blood type and should have a similar size liver. In case of a deceased donor, the liver can be from a person not related to the patient, and can be removed from brain dead people.

Outcomes –

The outcome of liver transplant is usually positive. A significant majority of patients do well after surgery, in that they no longer have to stay at the hospital.

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