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Warning Signs You Have Liver Trouble Right Now

Five ways your liver is trying to communicate with you. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Your liver works hard to protect you from sickness and does a lot of heavy lifting to ensure you're healthy, so when your liver isn't functioning properly it affects your overall health. "Your liver is responsible for several duties everyday: helping to process what you eat and drink, storing nutrients such as vitamins and glucose and removing excess toxins and much, much more. Weighing nearly 3 pounds in adults, the liver performs over 500, yes, 500 functions vital to our everyday lives," Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary's Hospital tells us. There are warning signals your liver tries to convey to you to let you know there's a problem and here's five signs you shouldn't ignore, according to Dr. Curry-Winchell. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away".

1

What Causes the Liver to Become Damaged?

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Dr. Curry-Winchell says, "There are several things that can affect your liver including infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and even your genetics. Other factors include heavy alcohol use, obesity, exposure to certain chemicals or toxins and more."

2

How to Protect Your Liver and Keep it Healthy

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Dr. Curry-Winchell shares, "To keep your liver in good shape, I often remind my patients to drink alcohol in moderation, use medications wisely, maintain a healthy weight and have regular wellness checkups with your doctor." 

3

Jaundice

Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "This is a condition which causes the whites of the eyes and skin to become yellow due to buildup of something called bilirubin which is a yellow substance formed when red blood cells in your blood break down. Now making bilirubin is a normal activity your body does every day. However, when the liver can't properly process red blood cells as they break down it causes a buildup of bilirubin resulting in jaundice." 

4

Bleeding

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According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, "If you're noticing blood in your stool or are experiencing rectal bleeding your liver could have signs of scarring (cirrhosis). When your liver is healthy blood moves fast throughout your body and smoothly. When there's scarring, your blood's journey can be a bit rough traveling through other portions of your body causing bleeding." 

5

Memory Problems

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"When your liver can't take out the toxins in your body, those toxins can build up in the brain causing memory issues including confusion, tiredness and in more severe cases coma," says Dr. Curry-Winchell.

6

Accumulation of Fluids

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Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "In about half the people suffering liver issues, we notice an accumulation of fluids in their abdomen or in their legs. This happens because blood pressure in your liver veins increases and leaks blood into the tissue."

7

Weight Loss

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"The liver is essential to processing daily nutrients you get with eating and drinking," Dr. Curry-Winchell states. "When it's unable to function your body struggles to get the nourishment it needs and leads to malnourishment." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more