The liver is the largest working organ in the human body. It weighs about three pounds and its main responsibility is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract. If you’re on medication, the liver helps metabolize it. The liver and the gallbladder work together to help digest, absorb and process all foods. If the liver is damaged or fails, the whole body shuts down. With that said, it’s essential to look out for signs that indicate your liver is being damaged.
The liver filters over one litre of blood per minute. It is involved in producing over 13,000 different types of chemicals in the body. It is responsible for producing 80% of our cholesterol. If the liver fails, we can only live for 24 hours before eventually dying.
The liver is an underappreciated organ. Most people know that we cannot live without a heart or a brain. But many people don’t know that the liver is what helps the brain and the heart function. Below are signs that indicate your liver is being damaged.
Your Stomach Is In A Flux: An early indication that your liver is being damaged is an upset stomach. This will include nausea and vomiting. These symptoms are also present for other diseases such as migraines, food poisoning, depression, and early pregnancy. So don’t jump the gun and self-diagnose yourself if you experience these symptoms. However, if these symptoms are occurring frequently, it could mean that the liver is unable to get rid of toxins in the body.
Feeling Weak: If you’re tired from a long workout at the gym, or a long day at work, it doesn’t mean your liver is damaged. But if you get your eight hours of sleep and have a healthy diet, there may be a cause for concern. When the liver is not functioning properly, the rest of the body overworks itself to keep functioning. This will result in chronic fatigue. The excess toxins in the body soak up all the protein that your body needs for energy. Since the liver cannot get rid of the toxins, the body begins to slow down.
Not Hungry: If your liver is being damaged, it won’t produce a lot of bile, which is what helps digest fat. Food that is not properly digested will lead to a loss of appetite and unhealthy weight loss.
Digestion Issues: As I just mentioned, the liver is responsible for producing bile which helps process nutrients which are absorbed by smaller intestines. Once the liver fails, the bile will not be produced properly. This can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, alcohol intolerance, constipation, and abdominal bloating.
Changes In the Color Of Urine: If you have a healthy diet and are drinking enough liquids, your urine should be of normal color. But if you notice it is changing color despite this, it could be an early sign that your liver is being damaged. Look to see if the urine is brown, orange or amber. If it’s this color, it’s because there are high levels of bilirubin in the blood.
Changes In The Color Of Stool: Because the liver is not producing high levels of bile, the color of your stool changes. It will look pale yellow or grey. If this happens at the odd time, there is nothing to worry about. But if it happens frequently, go speak to your doctor.
Developing Jaundice: Red blood cells are essential for distributing protein and oxygen throughout the body. When the liver is damaged, those red blood cells begin to break down. They are replaced with bilirubin in the bloodstream. This results in the skin turning a yellowish color, which will signal that you may have Jaundice.
Abdominal Changes: Any pain that is not related to the menstrual cycle should be monitored. If you are experiencing pain or cramps in the lower abdomen, you could have ascites or a damaged liver. Ascites are when fluid builds up in the abdominal area. This is one of the early indications that your liver is being damaged.
Retaining Fluid: If you notice that your hands and feet are swollen, it might be because they’re retaining too much fluid. There are many reasons why fluid retention is occurring. Kidney problems, heart failure, hormonal imbalance and liver failure are just a few to name. So it is essential that you consult your doctor if fluid retention becomes an ongoing issue.
Itchy Skin: There is nothing more satisfying than scratching an itch. But excessive itching is a problem. A damaged liver will cause the skin to become sensitive and flaky when touched. Your veins may also become more noticeable. You may also see an increase in bruising. Using moisturizing creams could reduce the itching, but it will not go away until the liver is healthier.
Abdominal Pain: A damaged liver will cause pain in the upper right area of the rib cage. This is where the liver is located.
Intestinal Bleeding: The liver develops clotting factors in the body. When it is damaged, it may not be present. Without them, you may experience intestinal bleeding. Constipation and diarrhea could also be associated with intestinal bleeding as well.