A properly functioning liver is vital to our health. The rates of liver damage or diseases are constantly increasing over the years. According to national statistics in the United Kingdom, liver diseases have been classified as the fifth most common cause of death. Liver diseases are recognized as the second leading cause of mortality among all digestive diseases in the United States.
The Primary Functions of the Liver are:
- Cleanses the blood bymetabolizing alcohol, drugs (prescription and recreational); and neutralizing poisonous substances.
- Manufactures essential body proteins, including those that prevent blood clotting, which open pathways for the delivery of nutrients to the blood and proteins that protect against infections.
- It produces cholesterol, making it essential substances for the body.
- Regulates the energy supply bymanufacturing, storing and supplying glucose to the body and the brain.
- Regulates the balance of hormones, including those of the adrenal and thyroid glands.
The potential causes of liver damage are numerous and include inheritance (i.e., genetic predisposition), long-term liver diseases (e.g., cirrhosis) and prolonged exposure to toxic substances. It is important to understand the potential signs of liver damage to preserve our health and well-being.
There are 7 Possible Heart Damage Signs:
Several investigations have concluded that chronic fatigue and exhaustion are the most common symptoms of liver damage. Medical professionals speculate that liver-related fatigue and exhaustion is a byproduct of neurochemical changes in the brain and hormonal imbalances. The exacerbation of the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion are high levels of toxic by-products in the blood, which a damaged liver cannot adequately eliminate.
2. Dry or Irritated Skin:
Irritated and itchy skin that seems to persist is another potential indication of liver damage. To be healthy, our skin requires hydration through the transmission of fluids within the body. When this liquid is not properly supplied, it is not uncommon for the skin to acquire a different appearance; this includes redness of the hands or feet, yellowing of the mucous membranes (i.e. jaundice) or unexplained spots (dark or light) in certain areas.
3. Abdominal Pain:
If the liver is damaged, it is common to feel pain around the abdominal area. Patients often describe this pain as “stabbing” or “throbbing” – a symptom that is often relieved only through proper treatment of the underlying problem.
“Long-term use of some types of over-the-counter or prescription medications can cause long-term liver damage”.
Those who experience persistent abdominal pain of the variety of pangs – and have used medications for a considerable period – should visit a doctor for evaluation.
4. Nausea or Vomiting:
As mentioned earlier, one of the main functions of the liver is to detoxify and help expel any toxic substance from the body. When the liver detoxification function is affected, a number of problems can arise, including sudden changes in normal digestion and metabolism. The liver is a large organ within the digestive system; therefore, any condition related to the liver can manifest itself in digestive problems. Nausea and vomiting frequently occur due to the accumulation of toxins that the liver cannot eradicate.
Among the most important functions of the liver is to help in the production of the necessary protein enzymes. A classification of protein enzymes helps prevent blood clots. When this blood clotting mechanism is affected, changes in the appearance of the skin are common. Moreover, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: ” when the liver decreases production or stops producing the proteins necessary for blood clotting, a person will bruise or bleed easily .”
6. Abdominal Tip:
According to the Mayo Clinic, liver damage disrupts the normal flow of blood to the organ, which increases the pressure in the surrounding veins. These “surrounding veins” include those responsible for transporting blood from the spleen and intestines to the liver. Disruption of this process causes blood pressure levels to increase – a condition known as portal hypertension. Portal hypertension causes the accumulation of fluid around the abdomen; a condition called ascites. Ascites can also arise from the liver’s inability to produce other blood proteins.
Liver problems can cause discoloration of the eyes and skin. This discoloration occurs due to the accumulation of a bile pigment called bilirubin, which cannot be properly disposed of. The yellowing of the skin or eyes is called jaundice. In addition to altering the appearance of the eye, jaundice can cause other symptoms such as darkening of the urine, itching throughout the body and cognitive impairment.
The great news is that the liver is a highly adaptable and resistant organ when treated, and is often able to heal on its own. Under the guidance of a medical professional, most liver-related diseases receive a positive prognosis. It is advisable to consult with a medical professional if any of these symptoms persist. As with most medical conditions, the earlier the underlying cause is determined, the more efficient and efficient any treatment will be.