The liver is one of the largest organs in the body since it extends about twenty centimeters from the right side of the abdomen. He is part of the digestive system and has many essential functions in the body. This is what doctors call a “vital organ” : we can’t live without it. The slightest symptom of a sick or tired liver should therefore be taken seriously. In pictures, the writing goes around of the six most common signs for which you should quickly consult a health professional.
Liver: a vital organ with multiple functions
The liver never rests, he works 24 hours a day to perform many functions, including:
- the bile production necessary for digest fat : it is stored by the gallbladder which then releases it into the intestines at mealtimes;
- the storage of glucose, vitamins and minerals from digestion: it then releases them into the blood when the body needs them;
- the production of proteins necessary for blood clotting (which helps to stop bleeding in case of injury) and to the immune system to fight infections;
- the detoxification of blood contaminated with harmful elements such as drug residues, alcohol and all kinds of body waste;
- the cholesterol regulation ;
In France, the National Cancer Institute estimates approximately 10,500 the number of new cases of liver cancer in 2018, almost 80% of which concern men. “The development of liver cancer most often occurs during the course of a chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis or hepatitis B or C and in rare cases on a healthy liver”, specifies the Institute. The main risk factor is alcohol, responsible for 48% of new cases. The other major risk factors are obesity and overweight, type 2 diabetes, hepatitis B/D or C and tobacco.
A yellowing of the eyes or skin is a common sign of liver damage. It is even often the first sign, or even the only sign of liver disease. This happens thewhen the liver cannot optimally filter bilirubina chemical naturally produced by red blood cells in the blood.
A damaged liver can lead to the deposit of small yellow fatty bumps on the skin or eyelids. This happens because when the liver is damaged, it causes blood cholesterol to rise, creating these little fatty deposits.
Individuals with liver damage may develop rash that is reddish-purple in color and made up of small dots or larger spots. This happens because of bleeding from the small blood vessels in the skin.
A damaged liver can also cause the ankles, legs and/or abdomen to swell. Swelling is present in about 50% of people with cirrhosis, the most severe form of liver disease.
It is a consequence of the organ’s inability to produce albumin, a protein that prevents fluid from flowing from blood vessels into tissues. Gold, by being trapped in the tissues, this liquid causes certain areas of the body to swell.
Bruising more easily or more heavily than usual can also be a sign of liver dysfunction. The cause: the same bleeding from blood vessels in the skin that can also cause rashes.
When liver function is impaired for a period of time, it can cause itchy skin over large parts of the sick person’s body. Indeed, liver damage can cause an accumulation of bile salts under the skin, an increase in histamine levels in the body or even a decrease in serotonin levels (resulting in an increased perception of itching).
Liver anatomy, National Cancer Institute
If You Notice This on Your Body, Have Your Liver Checked, Eat This, Not That