An unhealthy diet or alcohol can quickly damage the liver and make it ill. For example, more than one in four Germans has an enlarged liver due to fat deposits. Those are the signs to look out for.
Liver problems often go undetected for a long time. Because neither a fatty liver nor other diseases of the organ cause pain or clear symptoms in the early stages. “As is well known, the liver does not scream loudly when it is not feeling well,” says Jörn Klasen. “But there are signs that point to serious diseases in the advanced stage of fatty liver.” The nutritionist explains what these are in his new book “Bye Fatty Liver”. At FOCUS Online you can read an excerpt from it below.
In the early stages, fatty liver is hardly noticeable at all. However, if the organ swells, patients cannot feel it directly, but indirectly via the liver capsule. The liver’s connective tissue-like outer covering, which holds the soft organ together, has sensitive nerve endings that cause pain in the upper right abdomen when the liver enlarges. In the advanced stage, the feeling of pressure or fullness becomes stronger. Flatulence or diarrhea can also be indications.
“Bye bye fatty liver: Eat better – live healthier” by Jörn Klasen
A poor diet with too much 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 referred to as fatty liver deficiency). Nausea and loss of appetite are therefore also possible symptoms that can be used to identify dangerous developments.
Sleep disorders, fatigue, lack of drive or concentration problems do not directly indicate liver disease. A drop in performance is also often a subjective feeling and not a clear sign. Such symptoms also occur with many other diseases or overloads. Nevertheless, fatigue is considered “pain of the liver”. Anyone who is very often tired, has an increased risk of fatty liver and suspects this should see a doctor. An ultrasound check and the determination of the liver values bring clarity.
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 on the head, neck, chest or arms. On the face, the spider-like veins often appear first at pressure points under the glasses.
These signs are probably caused by vasoactive substances that occur 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.
So-called yellow eyes are a clear and alarming warning sign. They occur when the conjunctiva becomes discolored and indicate acute viral hepatitis or advanced cirrhosis of the liver. The pigment bilirubin, which is produced when red blood cells are broken 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.
What does the proverbial gut feeling say? When liver health is at risk, the stomach and intestines can provide early clues. For example, feelings 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 that appear around the navel (caput medusae) and frequent bruising.