Your liver works 24 hours a day working to filter out toxins, creating energy from consumed foods, helping with your digestion, and fighting alongside your immune system to protect you from getting sick. The liver acts as a powerhouse to send vital on-demand messages to different parts of your body to help maintain proper function for most metabolic and enzymatic activities. There is no question that your body relies heavily on a well-functioning liver to maintain good health. In addition to making the steps necessary steps to take care of your body, including consuming healthy food and maintaining an active lifestyle, it is critical to be aware of any warning signs that your liver isn’t functioning at its optimal level.
A little more about the liver..
Pay attention to the warning signs! Your liver is located under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. The liver’s most important function is to help your body process fats to support the digestive processes by secreting bile sent to the gallbladder. Our livers store carbohydrates as glycogen and creates energy from it whenever our body needs it. The liver can also create glucose from fats and proteins to produce carbohydrates when your body is low on it. This critical organ also produces many vital plasma components to fight blood clotting. On top of all of that, the liver is also responsible for filtering out toxic substances from the blood. It’s pretty safe to say the liver is one of the most important organs in the human body.
5 Warning Signs of a Fatty or Unhealthy Liver
1. Yellow Skin
One of the functions of the liver is to break down hemoglobin. Jaundice is a condition that occurs when a person’s skin or eyes turn yellow. Yellow skin or eyes may indicate a malfunctioning liver. A liver that is not functioning well enough to rid old blood cells and causes your system too much buildup of a yellow pigment called bilirubin, causing your skin to turn yellow. Bilirubin forms when dead blood cells are broken down in the liver. This yellow discoloration may cause your eyes and mouth to turn yellow as well. Do not ignore this warning sign if this applies to you.
2. Chronic Fatigue
For fatigue to be considered chronic, you must experience the symptoms for a minimum of 6 months. Chronic fatigue may be caused by the lack of glucose production from the liver, since the liver is responsible for providing energy supply when the body demands it. A malfunctioning or diseased liver will not produce enough glucose and your body’s energy will suffer resulting in feeling easily fatigued or tired.
3. Itchy Skin
Having an itch here and there is normal and usually brushed off unless there is a rash. However, a common symptom of liver disease is itchy skin due to a blockage or a slowed bile flow in your bloodstream. When your liver is not working optimally, the bile can stagnate and flow back into the bloodstream, causing a blocked bile duct. An accumulation of bile will collect under the skin in which itching may occur.
4. Swollen Legs and Ankles
Swollen legs or ankles may be your liver’s cry for help. If your liver is working poorly and you don’t do anything about it, the liver will try to repair itself, causing scar tissue to form in result. Too much scar tissue may lead to portal hypertension and create difficulty for your liver to perform. Portal hypertension causes fluid to build in your legs and ankles, causing swelling that is often painful in both legs. Gravity causes most of the swelling to be more physically visible in the lower part of your body.
5. Pain in the Liver Area
If you feel constant pain in the upper-right part of your abdomen, this may be a warning sign your liver is in trouble. The pain can range from a dull ache to an intense pain. The pain may be caused from swelling as your liver struggles to perform successfully. Pain and swelling is usually your body’s way of communicating to you something is not right.
Because the liver is such an important organ, it is critical not to ignore these warning signs of a damaged kidney. Although kidneys have an amazing ability to repair itself, giving it a break or assistance when it is not operating at its best can do wonders, especially if you are able to detect symptoms of liver malfunction early. If you are experiencing some or all of these warning signs of an unhealthy liver, it is important to get a checkup with a doctor or order a Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT/SGPT) blood test with National Discount Labs for a quick, easy, affordable way to screen for liver damage and to get your test results without the hassle of going through health insurance or waiting for weeks for results. Order the test, visit a LabCorp nearest you to have your blood work done, and have confidential access to your results online within 1-3 days. It’s important to put your health first and to do what you can to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Don’t ignore the warnings or put your health off any longer.