Serious signs of liver damage, experts say — eat this, not that

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, responsible for detoxifying the blood, metabolizing fats and carbohydrates, and producing essential materials that enable the other parts of the body to function. When your liver isn’t working properly, it can lead to serious, even fatal, health problems. How does your liver let your body know it’s in bad shape? Read on to find out – and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you already had COVID.

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According to the Cleveland Clinic, fluid retention is the most common symptom of a damaged liver. About 50% of people with cirrhosis, the most severe form of liver disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue, have it. Fluid retention can cause swelling in your arms, legs, or abdomen. It’s caused when the liver can’t produce albumin, a protein that keeps fluid from leaking from the blood vessels into the tissues. This leaking fluid can collect in the ankles, legs, and abdomen, causing painful swelling.

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Jaundice – yellowing of the eyes or skin – is another common sign of liver damage. It happens when the liver cannot optimally filter bilirubin, a natural chemical produced by red blood cells, from the blood. This can cause eyes and skin to turn yellow. “Jaundice is usually the first sign and sometimes the only sign of liver disease,” he says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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Dark urine — it can be orange, amber, or brownish — is another sign that a damaged liver has allowed bilirubin to build up in the blood. If you notice that your urine is darker than normal, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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Some people with liver damage may notice changes in their stools. They can be lighter than normal, ranging from yellowish to clay-colored, or even gray or whitish. This may indicate that a damaged liver is having trouble processing bile, causing stools to turn brown. Floating stool can be a sign that a damaged liver is no longer able to process fats optimally.

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The liver is located on the upper right side of the abdomen, behind and just below the rib cage. A damaged liver can swell, putting pressure on nearby tissues and causing pain. “Most people with liver disease report abdominal pain,” he says Cleveland Clinic. This can feel like a dull, throbbing ache or stabbing sensation in your upper right abdomen, just below your ribs. Swelling due to fluid buildup (called ascites) and enlargement of the spleen and liver caused by cirrhosis can also cause abdominal discomfort. And to protect your life and the lives of others, do not visit any of them 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.

Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been featured on Beachbody and Openfit. As a writer for Eat This, Not That! he has also published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview and many others. Continue reading

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