The kidneys and liver serve vital functions for overall wellness of the body. The kidneys remove waste from the body to prevent toxicity of other organs and maintain health of the entire body. The liver is the largest internal organ and aids in fighting infections, digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. In the case of disease of the kidneys or the liver, subtle symptoms indicate early malfunctions in these vital organs. As kidney and liver disease progresses, symptoms become more prominent and debilitating. The Medical Education Institute suggests recognizing the symptoms of disease in order to get the appropriate intervention for curbing discomfort 3.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Urine and Bowel Changes
Liver damage can take different forms such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or cancer, according to the American Liver Foundation 1. Regardless of the type of liver disease, the progression of symptoms and stages remain similar 1. Consistently dark-colored urine or light colored bowel movements signify one symptom of liver disease. Stool also may appear bloody or black in the presence of disease. Regarding the kidneys, changes in urination also occurs because the kidneys are responsible for making urine. Foamy, bubbly and frequent urination commonly occur in kidney disease. On the other hand, less urination and dark- colored urine may appear. In extreme cases of kidney disease, a condition known as anuria, urine production stopping altogether, occurs.
- Liver damage can take different forms such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or cancer, according to the American Liver Foundation 1.
- On the other hand, less urination and dark- colored urine may appear.
Inflammation and Swelling
Early Symptoms of Liver Damage From Alcohol
Early stage liver disease causes inflammation, the American Liver Foundation notes 1. Tenderness in the area of the liver and enlargement of the liver are associated with the liver trying to fight infections. Discomfort may not occur during early liver disease. With time, this changes if the early symptoms are not treated. Swelling of tissues in the body, also referred to as edema, transpires in kidney disease. When the kidneys no longer maintain normal filtration of excess body water, swelling of the extremities, legs and face appear.
- Early stage liver disease causes inflammation, the American Liver Foundation notes 1.
- When the kidneys no longer maintain normal filtration of excess body water, swelling of the extremities, legs and face appear.
Fatigue, Weakness and Nausea
In both instances of disease, fatigue, weakness and nausea presents. According to the Medical Education Institute, this is associated with reduced red blood cells carrying oxygen to the muscles and brain during kidney failure 3. In the case of liver failure, the body overworks to compensate for damage to the organ. Fatigue, weakness and nausea become more frequent as the disease stages progress. An overall sense of despair causing decreased appetite, disorientation and tiredness may also result as symptoms of kidney and liver disease 3.
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- Thorsen T, Solheim JM, Labori KJ, Line PD, Aandahl EM. Liver transplantation as a lifesaving procedure for posthepatectomy liver failure and iatrogenic liver injuries. Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2019;404(3):301-308. doi:10.1007/s00423-019-01780-3. Epub 2019 Mar 30.
Aubri John has been a contributing researcher and writer to online physical and mental health oriented journals since 2005. John publishes online health and fitness articles that coincide with her licensed clinical skills in addictions, psychology and medical care. She has a master's degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in health psychology.