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Telling Signs & Symptoms of Liver Damage

Liver damage can be due to heredity (i.e., inherited from a family member), toxicity (i.e., due to chemicals or viruses), or a long-term disease (i.e., cirrhosis) that can affect your liver for the rest of your life.

The liver helps the body digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxic substances — we wouldn’t be able to live without this very important abdominal organ. This is why it’s so important to stay in tune with its wellness, so let’s take a moment to learn about the 15 telling signs of a damaged liver…

1. Swollen Abdomen

Cirrhosis, the serious progression of liver disease, causes fluid build-up in the abdomen (a condition referred to as ascites), as levels of albumin and proteins in the blood and fluid are retained. This may actually make the patient appear pregnant. While ascites can be caused by numerous medical conditions, cirrhosis of the liver is the single most common cause. Sometimes, swelling can also take place in the ankles, as accumulated fluid is drawn down into the body by the forces of gravity.

While ascites can occur in sudden onset or acute liver disease, it occurs much more frequently in chronic cases. It can be treated with diuretics and a reduced sodium diet, and in severe cases, the fluid can be drained through a needle inserted into the stomach. However, ascites may not respond to frontline treatments, and if not, more drastic measures, such the insertion of a shunt or a liver transplant, may be necessary.

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