Liver damage causes systematic issues throughout the body. The liver is a vital organ that’s roughly the size of a football and sits under the rib cage on the right side of the upper abdomen. The liver is critical in digestion and processing toxins out of the body. Liver damage occurs when the liver becomes injured so that it can no longer function normally and support the health of the body. Liver failure is a grave condition, often life-threatening, that requires medical attention and treatment as soon as possible. There are many causes for this failure, including a variety of diseases and years of extreme alcohol consumption. The dysfunction usually occurs in stages, sometimes over the course of years. Therefore, there’s a reasonable amount of time to spot the most common symptoms of liver damage. Let’s look over some of them below!
1. Swollen Abdomen
One of the more noticeable symptoms of liver damage is a swollen abdomen. Portal hypertension is a rise in blood pressure within a network of veins called the portal venous system. The portal venous system is the system of veins originating from the intestine, stomach, spleen, and pancreas. These veins connect with the portal vein which is diverted into smaller vessels and carries this elevated blood to the liver. The process of a high accumulation of protein-filled fluid which causes the abdomen to swell. The build-up of fluid in the peritoneal cavity is known as ascites.
Many conditions cause ascites, but the most common source is cirrhosis of the liver. Retained albumin and protein located in the blood can cause a build-up of fluids. However, this swelling isn’t restricted to the abdomen. It can occur in the legs and ankles. Swelling in the stomach, legs, and ankles can be caused by other conditions, but is most frequently a symptom of chronic liver damage. To alleviate this symptom, medical professionals suggest lowering the patient’s intake of sodium, and the prescription medications to help reduce the swelling.