Your liver is one of the essential parts of your health – unfortunately, it is vulnerable to damage. While the first signs may not be obvious, there are warning signs that can tell you when your liver is not functioning well. It is important to watch for the most common liver damage symptoms, such as jaundice and dark urine.
- Unexplained fatigue: Continual, extreme fatigue often indicates that something isn’t functioning as it should. If you’re feeling especially drained more often than usual, check out immediately.
- Yellowish skin tone or eyes: Jaundice is a classic sign of liver disease, making your skin and eyes look yellowish. See a doctor immediately if you suddenly notice your skin tone or eyes appear yellowish for no known reason.
- Dark urine and pale stool: Pay attention to the color of your urine and stool. Dark urine and pale stools are both clear indications of a liver-related problem.
- Swelling in the legs and abdomen: Swelling in the lower body can be a sign that too much fluid or toxins are building up in the body due to an unhealthy liver. In such a case, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Itchy Skin: Itching isn’t generally associated with liver disease but becomes a symptom if you have serious underlying issues.
- Unexplained weight loss: If you experience sudden weight loss without any meaningful change in your diet or exercise routine, it can be a sign of liver failure or advanced cirrhosis.
- If you are exposed to Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, B, and C are all contagious forms of viral hepatitis that can cause severe damage to the liver, if left untreated. Doctors recommend an immediate check-up right after the exposure for early diagnosis and treatment options.
It’s also worth noting that some people may experience more general feelings like fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. If your symptoms are related to your liver, you must see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Triggers for Liver Failure
Various factors can cause liver damage, but three leading causes commonly trigger acute liver failure.
- Acetaminophen Overdose: One of the biggest risk factors for acute liver failure is taking too much acetaminophen – the common pain reliever in many over-the-counter medicines. Taking more than the recommended dosage, or taking multiple medications that contain acetaminophen, can cause immediate damage to the liver and lead to failure. It’s important to always read and follow instructions on any medicine you take.
- Virus Attack: Viruses, such as Hepatitis A, B, or C, can cause damage to the liver and lead to acute liver failure. In addition, some herbal supplements could have adverse effects on the liver if taken in large doses or over a longer period, so it pays to be wary of anything you ingest that isn’t expressly approved.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption: This is another common cause of cirrhosis, a condition in which unhealthy tissue replaces healthy tissue in your liver.
How To Keep Your Liver Healthy
Your liver is essential for digesting foods, filtering toxins, and producing hormones. If your liver isn’t functioning correctly, seeking medical help is important. While medical treatments vary according to the type and severity of the liver disease, there are a few remedies that can help:
- Drink alcohol in moderation: Excessively consuming alcohol can cause severe liver damage as it is one of the most toxic substances to your liver. Limiting alcohol consumption is a great way to reduce your risk of liver disease.
- Eat a Balanced Diet with High-Fiber Foods: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can help your liver function as it should. Fiber also helps to reduce the risk of fatty deposits forming in the liver by flushing out toxins. Choose whole-grain cereals, oats, and high-fiber fruits and vegetables such as apples or carrots. Daily eating at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended for optimal health.
- Incorporate Nutrient-Rich Foods into Your Diet: Eating foods such as lean meats, eggs, leafy greens, avocados, and fish oils that are high in nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E will help to nourish your liver and ensure it stays healthy and strong for many years to come. Eating papaya has long been cited as a home remedy for cirrhosis of the liver due to its content of proteolytic enzymes that help break down proteins in food into amino acids.
While genetics, medical conditions, and the environment can play a role in the health of your liver, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Pay attention to the warning signs of liver problems, including fatigue, jaundice, dark urine, and abdominal pain. If these symptoms appear, consult your doctor immediately for the right treatment.