Liver Disease: Expert discusses risks and symptoms
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Fatty liver disease is a common condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver. Most people have no symptoms, and it doesn’t cause serious problems for them. In some cases, though, it can lead to liver damage.
Classic symptoms of liver disease include nausea, vomiting, right upper quadrant abdominal pain, and jaundice (a yellow discolouration of the skin due to elevated bilirubin concentrations in the bloodstream), said Medicine Net.
The health site added: “Fatigue, weakness, and weight loss may also occur.
“The liver is responsible for many critical functions within the body and should it become diseased or injured, the loss of those functions can cause significant damage to the body.”
Fatigue and weakness
Fatigue is a symptom commonly described by people with liver disease (hepatitis), regardless of whether the hepatitis is caused by a virus, excess alcohol or fat consumption, or an inherited disease, said the GI Society.
It added: “The associated fatigue may be intermittent or constant, mild or debilitating.
“There is no relationship between the severity of liver disease and the severity of the fatigue.
“Those with minimal liver disease may experience total exhaustion while those with severe liver disease may not feel tired at all, or vice versa.”
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In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, fatigue and weakness in liver disease was further analysed.
According to the study, fatigue is the most common symptom reported by patients with liver disease.
“Although the underlying pathogenesis of fatigue in liver disease is still poorly defined, it appears to involve changes in central neurotransmission, which result from signalling between the diseased liver and the brain,” noted the study.
It continued: “A better understanding of the pathways and the neurotransmitter systems involved may provide directed specific therapies for liver disease-associated fatigue.
“Although the exact prevalence of fatigue in patients with chronic liver disease is somewhat variable in different studies and with different specific liver diseases, it is readily apparent that fatigue constitutes the most common complaint among this patient group.”
Unexplained weight loss is a noticeable drop in body weight that occurs even if the person is not trying to lose weight.
Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of a serious illness.
The weight loss does not come about because of diet, exercise or lifestyle changes.
Weight loss of 10 pounds or more, or five percent of body weight, over a period of six to 12 months is considered unexplained.
Causes of fatty liver disease
Some people get fatty liver disease without having any pre-existing conditions.
However, these risk factors make you more likely to develop it:
Being obese or overweight
Having type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance
Having a metabolic syndrome such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels
Taking certain prescription medications.
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