The liver is a vital organ that is essential to human vitality and health. It helps to digest food, rid toxic substances and absorb vital nutrients that the body needs for survival. Some people are born with liver problems while others damage their liver by being exposed to harmful chemicals, alcoholism or the after effects of a virus 1. Early signs of liver problems should not be ignored and medical help should be sought to assure proper treatment 13.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
One of the earlier signs of possible liver problems include sudden skin changes 13. This could be a discoloring in the skin that holds a yellowish hue. This could also mean that the fingernails or the tips of the fingers could turn yellow. The reason for this is the liver is not releasing the toxins properly out of the body and bilirubin is beginning to accumulate under the skin.
Itchy or Oversensitive Skin
Early signs of liver problems may occur within the skin 13. This could mean an itchy skin area that progressively gets worse over time. Having skin that is sensitive to the touch or becomes inflamed easily after itching could also be a sign of liver problems 1. Keeping the skin moisturized will help alleviate any discomfort.
Urine and Stool Changes
Some people whose liver is not functioning properly may notice some changes when they go to the bathroom. This could be in their urine. In some cases, urine can become dark in color. Some people may associate this with dehydration but if they are drinking the proper amount of fluids, their urine should be mostly clear. Some patients with early liver problems report that changes in their stools that may be pale, bloody or tar colored 1.
Changes in the abdominal area may provide early indication of liver trouble. This could start off as having a cramping or pain in the lower abdomen. It can quickly turn into a gassy sensation that accompanies pressure. As the liver problem gets worse, ascites can develop. This is a buildup of fluid within the abdominal wall. It can become so great that it can also apply pressure to the lungs making it difficult to breathe. A paracentesis may have to be preformed to remove the fluid from the abdomen 2.
If you experience changes, such as feelings of extreme weakness, tiredness or chronic fatigue, this could also be an early sign of a problem liver. The body is working harder at survival and one of the first responses is to get more rest. If weakness and overall tiredness occurs with other related symptoms, prompt medical attention is recommended.
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