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Marching Towards Healthy Liver - Symptoms of Liver Damage that You Should Not Ignore!

By Dr. Sanjiv Saigal in Liver Transplant and Biliary Sciences

May 04 , 2022 | 2 min read

The liver is an amazing organ that performs over 500 vital functions. Some of its main functions include synthesis of proteins, storage of vitamins and minerals, secretion of bile, and detoxification of drugs and toxins that enter our body. Liver converts excess glucose into glycogen for storage, which can later be converted back to glucose for energy. The bile that is released helps in the breakdown of fatty foods. Liver has a vital role in regulating blood clotting. Whenever there is liver dysfunction, our body manifests certain signs and symptoms. 


Some of these important warning signs of liver damage include the following:


  1. Nausea and loss of appetite

These are common symptoms whenever the liver is not functioning properly.


  1. Jaundice

Jaundice or yellow discoloration of eyes & urine is a symptom caused due to high levels of bilirubin in the blood. It can be associated with loss of appetite, abdominal pain, pruritus, fever, and clay coloured stools.


  1. Bruising

The liver is responsible for the synthesis of proteins that help in blood clotting. But in case of liver damage, these clotting factors are not synthesised adequately, and one tends to bruise and bleed easily.


  1. Fluid retention

Fluid retention in the abdomen, also known as ascites, is caused due to a condition called cirrhosis wherein the liver gets scarred and shrunken. The common causes of cirrhosis include chronic alcoholism, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Ascites is often accompanied with ankle swelling. As the fluid retention increases, the patient may also develop shortness of breath.


  1. Vomiting of blood

Blood vomiting or passage of dark black stools is an alarming symptom that can happen due to rupture of veins in the food pipe or stomach as a sequalae of cirrhosis. This needs immediate attention and treatment in a hospital setting.


  1. Alteration of sensorium

As the liver damage advances, there is accumulation of toxins in our body which can lead to altered sensorium. In advanced stages, this can progress to comatose state.


What to do if you have these symptoms?

You must seek medical attention and consult your doctor who will suggest certain blood tests including Liver Function Test (LFT), and imaging such as ultrasound, CT scan, etc. The treatment will be based on the type and stage of the liver disease.


Following are some important tips that can keep your liver healthy.

  1. Eat a healthy and balanced diet

  2. Maintain healthy weight

  3. Exercise regularly

  4. Avoid alcohol intake

  5. Hydrate your body

  6. Avoid unnecessary medications

  7. Be on regular follow up with your doctor 

  8. Get vaccinated against hepatitis B


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