Did you know that liver disease is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK?
Additionally, three quarters of people are currently diagnosed at a late stage when it is too late for intervention.
The liver is an organ that filters the blood and carries out other important functions in the body. The liver is the second largest and most complex organ in the body, with exception of the brain. Most people with liver disease do not always have noticeable signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of liver damage or disease are often absent until significant damage has occurred. According to the British Liver Trust, here are some of the risks you should be aware of:
Non-specific liver symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of appetite which in turn may lead to weight loss
- Pain under the right rib cage
Early signs of damage can include feeling unwell, tiredness and abdominal discomfort. Other liver disease related symptoms which you could develop later include:
- Jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine)
- Loss of sex drive (libido)
- Intensely itchy skin
- Very rapid heartbeat
- Light coloured stools or very dark stools
- Loss of hair
- Bleeding gums
- Memory loss
Red flag symptoms
- Vomiting blood
- High fever
- Very dark faeces
- Confusion or drowsiness
What causes different types of liver disease?
- Genetics: hemochromatosis is a condition which results in too much iron being stored in the body, building up over many years and if left untreated can cause liver damage.
- Hepatitis: catching a viral infection, regularly drinking too much alcohol
- Cirrhosis: severe scarring of liver cells; may lead to liver cancer
- Cancer: when abnormal cells multiply in your liver, you may develop benign or malignant tumours.
- Problems with your immune system: when your immune system mistakenly attacks your liver, it can cause autoimmune liver disease.
How can I test for my Liver Health?
Over time, poor diet and lifestyle choices can affect liver function. 90% of liver disease in the UK is due to alcohol, obesity and viral hepatitis therefore can be prevented. The good news is with early treatment and effective lifestyle changes, many people who contract liver disease can avoid serious damage and prevent liver failure. So why not take care of your health and see how your liver is functioning.
Our Everyman | Everywoman Health check will look at the biomarkers that indicate your liver health aswell as a wide range of key health areas in your body reporting up to 150 results.