The liver is in charge of multiple vital functions and is one of the most critical organs in the body. However, damage to this organ is becoming more and more prevalent; one key factor behind this trend is alcohol use. Liver disease kills around 2 million people across the globe every year. This article will list 14 signs of liver damage, the stages of liver failure, and signs that your liver may be recovering.
Early Signs of Liver Damage
Many early signs of liver damage can be overlooked, which is why it’s important to educate yourself about them. Some of the more subtle symptoms include fatigue, nausea, excessive weight loss, and abdominal pain. It is also common for those with this condition to notice that their ankles and legs have swollen. In severe cases, people experience changes to their skin and eye colors as a result of health problems associated with the liver. While these early signs can also be indicators of other health issues, they are most commonly linked to liver damage.
14 Signs of Liver Damage
There are 14 signs of liver damage that you should be familiar with. This list is not exhaustive, and if you have any of these symptoms, we recommend that you speak with a medical professional.
- Retaining fluid
- Changes in stool and urine
- Appetite loss
- Jaundice of the skin and eyes
- Extreme weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Itchy skin and other skin changes or sensitivities
- Abdominal pain
- Gastric issues
- Bad breath
- Spider veins
- Bruising easily
- Dark circles under eyes
Liver Damage Symptoms
Sometimes liver damage doesn’t cause observable symptoms until it’s too late. If you’re perceptive, however, you may be able to notice them before your condition worsens. Some of the key signs of liver damage are feelings of weakness and fatigue, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, and a high fever.
Liver Failure Stages
There are four stages of liver disease. Alcohol-induced liver failure may progress rapidly to the final stage. The four liver failure stages include:
- Inflammation, or hepatitis, is the first stage. The liver is widening as it tries to get rid of toxins. People may or may not notice symptoms at this point.
- Fibrosis, or scarring, is the second stage. Scarring alters the shape of the liver and blood flow as it replaces healthy tissue. There’s chronic inflammation at this stage, though the liver can still reverse some damage.
- Cirrhosis is irreversible damage to the liver. Jaundice and pain are present. People with cirrhosis are at a very high risk of developing cancer.
- Liver failure occurs when the liver stops working and shuts down, either quickly or gradually. Acute liver failure happens over the course of just a few days. Chronic liver failure comes with more severe symptoms and may cause cognitive issues. A liver transplant is the best choice to help save the life of someone with liver failure.
Signs Your Liver Is Healing
The liver is a self-healing organ. So, if you decide to stop drinking soon enough, it can heal. Some of the noticeable signs that your liver is healing after you stop drinking include feeling more energetic, having a healthy appetite, and thinking clearly. As a bonus, you’ll also notice improvements in the growth of your hair and nails, as well as the resolution of any abdominal issues.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of liver damage, you may find that after you stop drinking, many of those issues will begin to fade away.
Hope by the Sea’s Alcohol Treatment Program
If you or a loved one want to stop drinking, Hope by the Sea can help. We offer medically supervised detoxification and comprehensive residential programming. We also give you the tools to stay sober when you return home. Reach out to Hope by the Sea today and let us help you live the long, healthy life you deserve.