Symptoms and Signs of Liver Disease Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatments

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Liver Disease Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatments

Liver disease is a partial or complete dysfunction of one or more of the critical functions the healthy liver otherwise performs. Liver disease may be acute and/or chronic but usually it takes a large amount of liver damage to occur before signs and symptoms are produced. Examples of common signs and symptoms of liver disease are jaundice (yellowing of skin and/or sclera), easy bruising or bleeding, edema (leg swelling, abdominal swelling), and fatigue. Liver disease symptoms and signs usually indicate an underlying problem exists within the liver.

The most common causes of liver diseases are acute hepatitis and chronic hepatitis (inflammation from viral infections and/or other pathogenic organisms), cirrhosis (for example, alcoholic – caused liver cell damage and/or a number of drugs like Tylenol), fatty liver disease (alcohol consumption, obesity, and other metabolic conditions like diabetes), and primary liver cell cancers or cancers that are metastatic. Other causes of the disease are genetic abnormalities; in some patients, the cause of the liver disease is not known.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.