When your heart is in danger, you often experience local symptoms in the chest and heart area. When you have joint problems, your symptoms present themselves in the joints. But when it comes to the liver, you won’t necessarily experience symptoms right where your liver is, so it’s important to pay attention to other parts of the body to detect a possible problem with your liver.
Your liver performs over 500 functions on any given day, and yet oftentimes we don’t really think about the health of this all-important organ.
Many symptoms that are usually attributed to other illnesses can also apply to the liver, but often go overlooked. Hence, it’s important to be aware of those possible signs that can indicate a liver problem to get your liver checked right away. Although the liver is quite resilient – you can actually live with half of it – maintaining proper liver health is still important for your overall wellbeing.
Abdominal pain: Feeling of soreness, pain, or even swelling in or around the upper right area of the abdomen is a symptom of a sick liver. The fattest end of the liver is in the upper right section of your abdomen, this is why you will feel discomfort in this area if there’s something wrong with your liver.
Yellow eyes or skin: Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes or skin, is a sign of a liver problem. The color yellow comes from bilirium, which is one of the by-products of the old blood cell breakdown. When your liver is healthy, it can easily get rid of bilirium, but if it is sick, bilirium starts accumulating in the body and appears in the eyes or the skin. Dark urine or light bowels can also be a sign of jaundice.
Joint pain: It may not occur to you, but this symptom may actually have something to do with the liver. Arthritis-like joint pain, along with fatigue, nausea, and vomiting are all interrelated signs indicating liver disease, in particular, autoimmune hepatitis.
Skin spots: Your liver is responsible for cleaning your blood, but if it can’t do so properly, you may end up with clotting issues near the surface of your skin, known as “spider angiomas” as they resemble spiders. These spots may be commonly seen on the chest or torso.
Muscle wasting: A puffy abdomen or swollen ankles paired with skinny weak arms or legs could be a result of fluid imbalance, which can be caused by malfunctioning of the liver. These symptoms are often presented towards the later stages of liver disease, so you will probably notice some other symptoms before this one.
Confusion: If your liver is sick, too much copper may accumulate in the blood and brain as a result, leading to Alzheimer’s-like confusion. This type of confusion is often a sign of later stage liver disease as well.
Because these symptoms can be interpreted as being related to other ailments, the liver may not be the first organ you think about when they present themselves. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you mention to your doctor that you want your liver function checked.