The liver sits under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. It is the size of a football and is responsible for digesting food as well as helping the body to rid itself of toxic substances.
Damage can occur to the liver as a result of many factors, such as genetics and viruses. Given enough time, this damage can become scarring in the liver, which can eventually lead to liver failure.
5 Most Common Liver Failure Symptoms
Liver failure is a life-threatening condition, and it is important to know the liver failure symptoms so individuals can seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
1. Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite can seem like a very broad symptom of many things in addition to liver failure. While the lack of desire to eat does not necessarily equal liver failure, when paired with other symptoms, it can be a good indicator of what is going on inside the body.
This is because a loss of appetite can be coupled with liver failure when liver failure is a result of a variety of causes. For instance, infection, immune system abnormality, genetics, and cancer are all causes that can cause a loss of appetite.
This symptom can also lead to health issues if the patient does not take care to eat, regardless of whether or not they feel hungry.
The reason a patient may experience diarrhea when they are in liver failure is the liver is a crucial part of the digestive system. Without properly doing its job, the system does not function properly. In addition to dealing with diarrhea, the patient may also feel discomfort.
They should also be careful to pay attention to the color of their stool as extremely pale, bloody, or tar-colored stool can be another sign of liver failure.
If the color of an individual’s stool seems off or if they are having trouble with excessively runny stool, they should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
3. Chronic Fatigue and Sleepiness
Chronic fatigue and sleepiness can come in many forms. It can be peripheral or central. Peripheral means chronic fatigue is sourced from the muscles and manifests itself physically, and central means it deals with the central nervous system.
Also, it becomes an issue of self-motivation rather than physical ability. What is important to note about this kind of fatigue, however, is it is not directly correlated to the severity of liver disease or failure.
Individuals who have minor liver disease could feel complete exhaustion while those with liver failure may feel no tiredness at all—and vice versa.
4. Increased Nausea
Nausea is one of the liver failure symptoms that often follows other digestion-related signs. For the same reasons a patient may find themselves dealing with runny stool, they may also find themselves dealing with increased nausea.
Nausea can also be an early indicator of exposure to harmful substances that may lead to liver failure. For example, aerosol sprays can be dangerous when used in a poorly ventilated room.
Additionally, certain medications can be harmful when ingested improperly or excessively. Finally, excessive alcohol consumption over time can cause increased nausea in patients.
An increase in nausea can also lead to an array of other liver failure symptoms such as vomiting and a lack of sufficient food to nourish and energize the body.
Jaundice is a peculiar symptom that occurs in patients who are in liver failure as a result of excess alcohol consumption throughout their lifetimes. Typically, this leads to cirrhosis, which can then result in liver failure.
The reason jaundice occurs in patients is because too much bilirubin builds up in the blood. The liver is responsible for making sure the bilirubin is filtered out of the bloodstream when it dies.
However, when the liver is not working properly, it causes the bilirubin to build up as the liver struggles to keep up. It is a rare symptom, but it is very indicative of liver failure for this reason.