More than one in four affected: Fatty liver often goes unrecognized – six symptoms are warning signs
An unhealthy diet or alcohol can quickly damage your liver and make you sick. For example, more than one in four Germans have an enlarged liver due to fat deposits. Those are the signs to watch out for.
Liver problems often go unnoticed for a long time. Because neither fatty liver nor other diseases of the organ cause pain or clear symptoms in the early stages. “As is well known, the liver doesn’t scream loudly when it doesn’t feel well,” says Jörn Klasen. “But there are signs that point to serious disease in advanced stages of fatty liver.” The nutritionist explains what these are in his new book “Goodbye fatty liver”. In FOCUS Online you can read an excerpt below.
1. Sensation of pressure in the Oberbach
In the early stages, fatty liver is hardly noticeable. However, if the organ swells, patients cannot feel it directly, but rather indirectly through the hepatic capsule. The connective tissue-like outer covering of the liver, which holds the soft organ together, has sensitive nerve endings that cause pain in the upper right part of the abdomen when the liver enlarges. In the advanced stage, the feeling of pressure or fullness becomes stronger. Flatulence or diarrhea can also be indications.
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“Goodbye fatty liver: eat better, live healthier” by Jörn Klasen
2. Loss of appetite and weight changes
A poor diet with too many sweets, processed products, fast food and unhealthy carbohydrates in combination with a lack of exercise are considered the main causes of fatty liver. Less well known is the fact that not only obesity, but also low-protein diets, strict fasting, or very rapid weight loss can cause fatty liver (this is known as fatty liver deficiency). Therefore, nausea and loss of appetite are also possible symptoms that can be used to identify dangerous developments.
3. Tiredness and exhaustion
Sleep disturbances, fatigue, lack of drive, or concentration problems do not directly indicate liver disease. A drop in performance is also usually a subjective feeling and not a clear signal. Such symptoms also occur with many other illnesses or overloads. However, fatigue is considered “liver pain.” Anyone who is frequently tired is at increased risk of fatty liver and suspects that they should see a doctor. An ultrasound check and determination of liver values provide clarity.
4. Liver Asterisk
Liver stars: This term sounds almost cute and harmless, but it is already a clear sign of a damaged liver. These are star-shaped vascular enlargements that occur primarily in the head, neck, chest, or arms. On the face, spider veins often first appear at pressure points under glasses.
These signs are probably caused by vasoactive substances that are produced when the liver becomes diseased. In individual cases, however, they also occur in healthy people or in women in the first trimester of pregnancy. When the liver recovers, the asterisks will disappear.
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5. Discoloration of eyes, feces and urine.
The so-called yellow eyes are a clear and alarming warning signal. They occur when the conjunctiva becomes discolored and indicate acute viral hepatitis or advanced liver cirrhosis. The pigment bilirubin, which is produced when red blood cells break down, is responsible for this. Even if the stool is colorless or clay-colored and the urine is dark in color, you should definitely see a doctor.
6. Gut Warnings
What does the proverbial gut say? When liver health is at risk, the stomach and intestines can provide early clues. For example, sensations of pressure and fullness, flatulence, and stomach pain are typical symptoms. In the abdomen, water retention is noticeable when the abdomen bulges. Other warning signs are veins appearing around the navel (caput medusae) and frequent bruising.
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