What are the Symptoms of Liver Disease?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 29 February 2020
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There are many different kinds of liver disease, and they may each have a lot of relatively unique symptoms, but there are a few general similarities. Some of the symptoms of liver disease that most disorders have in common are jaundice, darkened urine, light-colored feces, and loss of appetite. Some other common symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, hypoglycemia, and a decrease in sex drive. Many people with serious problems may not exhibit symptoms of liver disease right away.

Most experts agree that the most definitive and recognizable symptom of liver disease is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin. This happens when a substance called bilirubin is overabundant in the blood stream. Bilirubin is a waste product that comes from dead blood cells. In a normally functioning person, the liver is crucial in removing waste products from the bloodstream. When the liver isn’t working properly, these waste products build up, including bilirubin, and jaundice is the most visible symptom.

Some of the most common types of liver disease are liver cancer, cirrhosis, hepatitis, and Wilson’s disease. Other relatively common types are Gilbert’s syndrome and hemochromatosis. Some forms of liver disease are genetic, while others may be contagious. There are a few forms of liver disease that are strongly related to a person’s behavior. For example, drinking alcohol is generally well-known to put a strain on the liver, and it can commonly lead to cirrhosis.


The treatments for various forms of liver disease are quite different, and there aren't many commonalities that apply to every single one. A few general guidelines can potentially reduce the strain on a person’s liver and possibly reduce the symptoms of liver disease in many different situations. Some of these things include an avoidance of alcohol, a healthy diet, and a general caution about what medications are ingested. Some medicines can have adverse effects on the liver, and a person might wish to consult her doctor about any prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines she is taking.

The many different functions of the liver are very important to the body, and liver damage can often lead to severe illness or death if left untreated. In some cases, the symptoms of liver disease can be severe enough to warrant surgery or other drastic treatments. In general, liver disease is not something that can be safely ignored, and early detection can be very important with many varieties of the condition. It is generally advisable for individuals to see a doctor immediately if any symptoms of liver disease are present.



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