Considering its job description, no wonder the liver is one of the largest organs in your entire body. Its plays a huge role in your overall health so when it’s not functioning as designed or is damaged in some way, your body exhibits the signs and symptoms to let you know about it.
What Exactly Does The Liver Do?
In simple terms, the liver functions as a filter, a storage and distribution center, and a waste removal mechanism – and all from a single location. The blood from your digestive system flows through the liver where it’s cleaned and valuable nutrients are separated from the useless byproducts. The good stuff is stored until it’s needed (like glycogen for energy) or goes right back into the body via the bloodstream, and the rest gets shown the door (so to speak). The foods you eat, the medicines you take, the sodas and alcohol you drink – after digestion the liver sees it all and will deal with it appropriately. That is, if it’s working properly. It makes sense that if your liver is off its game and toxins are not filtered out and removed as needed, they've got nowhere else to go and will eventiually be released back into the body - and that's when the trouble begins.
Symptoms of Liver Damage
Probably the most well known symptom of liver malfunction is a yellowish coloring of the eyes or skin, known as jaundice. But hints of liver damage can show up all over the body, both internally and externally. It may be indigestion, acid reflux, gallstones, depression, headaches, or a lack of concentration. You may also see skin rashes, rosacea, or dark circles under the eyes. Again, the list of possible side effects from an impaired liver is much longer and more varied than what can be listed here, as it’s so important to your overall health and wellbeing.
Your liver is also susceptible to a number of medical conditions, including Hepatitis A, B, and C, and liver cancer. Autoimmune diseases and genetics can play a role in its proper functioning, as well. Other common conditions are fat buildup inside your liver and literally clogging the system, and sustained, chronic alcohol abuse leading to cirrhosis. Moderation and a healthy diet can go a long way toward maintaining a healthy liver, but if you’re experiencing some or several of these symptoms, be sure to see your health care provider for a check up and possibly a referral to a hepatology specialist.