Known as a “silent organ”, the liver typically does not produce any worrying symptoms before it is severely damaged. Due to limited nerves around the organ, pain or symptoms won’t emerge until the advanced stages of liver disease, which by then may already be too late.
According to articles by American Liver Foundation(1) and The Korea Times(2), liver is characterised as the silent organ because it can be damaged up to 70 to 80 percent without sending signals or symptoms. Hence, many people live with liver disease for a long time without ever knowing it.
Many forms of liver disease are preventable, and many more if detected early can be treated effectively(1).
If you begin to notice some of the early indicators below, it is recommended for you to do routine medical check-ups to ensure your liver is functioning optimally.
Early Indicators Poor Liver Health
- Skin and eye conditions: Yellow discolouration on skin and eyes; dark circles under eyes; skin pigmentation; dull and itchy skin
- Sleep disorders: Insomnia; prone to waking up in the middle of the night
- Digestive issues: Loss of appetite; nausea/vomiting
- Easily angered, frustrated/depressed, prone to mood swings
- Memory decline
- Body odour and bad breath
- Oily hair and hair loss
Routine medical check-ups either a blood test or ultrasound is essential to ensure you do not miss out on signs that could lead to advanced indicators. Usually if you have advanced indicators as stated below, you are probably already in late stages of liver disease.
Advanced Indicators of Failing Liver
- Dark-coloured urine
- Constipation/black tarry stools due to internal bleeding
- Swelling in legs, ankles and feet due to build-up of fluid (oedema)
- Chronic pain on upper right abdominal, swelling in your abdomen due to a build-up of fluid known as ascites
- A tendency to bleed and bruise more easily, such as frequent nosebleeds and bleeding gums
- Vitamin deficiency symptoms such as glossitis, angular cheilitis, skin ecchymosis, etc
- Increased sensitivity to alcohol and drugs (because the liver is too weak to process)