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What’s New What Are the Early Warning Signs of Liver Disease?

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Liver Disease?

The third leading cause of preventable death in the United States is alcoholic liver disease. Unlike other types of diseases, warning signs that something is wrong with your liver are invisible in the early stages. Unfortunately, late-stage liver disease is complicated to treat. That is why it is beneficial to be aware of some very early signs. What are the early warning signs of liver disease?

The 3-Fold Purpose of Our Liver

Liver on a stand with a doctor.

The liver is a large organ about the size of a football, and it serves as a filtration system. Its job is to remove harmful toxins from our blood. Its second job is to make bile to help us digest our food. Third, it stores sugar our body uses as energy.

Because our liver is a filter, it can become vulnerable to the toxins it processes. Too many of these toxins can overwhelm its ability to function properly. This inability to function can lead to liver disease.

What Causes Liver Disease?

The main causes of liver disease include the following:

  • The virus hepatitis
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Fatty liver disease

Can Liver Disease Be Prevented?

Chronic conditions do progressive damage to our liver overtime. Fortunately, both alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can both be 100% reversible. The following lifestyle changes can all contribute to a healthier liver.

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Not making these lifestyle changes can cause 1 in 10 patients to develop liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure.

Getting a heads up on liver disease is your best prevention. Know what to look for.

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Liver Disease?

Any combination of these warning signs should be a wake up call for you to see Digestive Health Services for tests.


Jaundice is the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. This is sometimes the first sign of liver disease and can be the only sign.

A General Unwell Feeling

This can include headaches, fatigue and skin issues.

Feeling Gassy and Bloated

When your liver is not secreting juices to break down food for digestion, you can feel bloated and gassy.


The toxins in your liver can cause a type of brain fog. This is also known as hepatic encephalopathy. This is a deterioration of brain function and damage to the nervous system due to the toxic substances building up in the blood.

Fluid Retention

This can result in swollen feet and ankles.

Other signs of liver disease can include:

  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Itching
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Vomiting blood

Maintain regular healthcare appointments with Digestive Health Services in Downers Grove to watch for signs of liver disease. Call (630) 434-9312 to schedule an appointment today.

Request an Appointment Today!

Digestive Health Services, SC is a gastroenterology practice with four board certified and highly trained physicians.