The liver is a large organ, reddish brown found primarily in the upper right abdomen above the stomach and below the diaphragm.
Weighing about 1.3 kg in females and 1.8 kg in males, the liver is the largest solid organ in the body. The liver has about 13% of the blood supply of the body and carries out about 500 different functions.
The liver is composed of cells called hepatocytes, which absorb nutrients and detoxify the blood by removing harmful substances. The liver is, therefore, a vital organ for digestion and rid the body of toxins.
Liver disease can occur as an inherited condition or be caused by several factors that lead to liver damage, such as viral infection, alcohol or obesity for example. chronic liver damage can eventually lead to scarring of the organ or long term, a condition known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a non-reversible, dangerous condition that can lead to liver failure.
Symptoms of liver disease
More than a hundred different types of liver diseases are currently known to exist and symptoms can vary widely depending on whether a patient has hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease , fatty liver disease or cirrhosis, for example.
Furthermore, the symptoms are not always apparent in the early stages of liver disease. Symptoms may be mild and non-specific such as
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
as cirrhosis progresses, symptoms and complications can arise that make it clear that the liver is not doing well. These may be symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and other complications due to cirrhosis. In addition to hepatic encephalopathy (HE), following complications are signs of liver damage or cirrhosis
- fluid accumulation and painful swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites)
- bruising and easy bleeding
- dilated veins in the esophagus and the lower stomach (gastropatía)
- enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
- stone-like particles in the gallbladder bile and bile duct (gallstones)
- liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)
chronic liver failure indicates that the liver has been failing slowly, possibly for years.
Symptoms of liver cirrhosis
In the early stages of cirrhosis, symptoms may again be nonspecific and smooth. Patients may, therefore, ignore the symptoms and attribute them to other conditions.
The term cirrhosis relates to the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) instead of liver cells that have died as a result of liver damage long term. This may have occurred due to excessive alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis or other factors that lead to liver toxicity.
As cirrhosis develops gradually and often without obvious symptoms, the disease may go unnoticed until the damage is severe and can lead to liver failure.
Some of the symptoms of liver cirrhosis are described below:
- bruise easily
- The hormonal imbalance
- angiomas spider
- Portal hypertension
When to see a doctor
failure acute liver can develop quickly in a healthy person, and is potentially fatal. If you or someone you know suddenly has a yellowing of the eyes or skin; tenderness in the upper abdomen; or any unusual change in mental status, personality or behavior, seek medical attention immediately.