The liver is a very though, meaty organ located on the right side of your belly. It is responsible to carry out many vital functions for sustaining life. Unfortunately, there are usually no any warning signs and symptoms of liver disease until the condition become advanced. How about weight loss?
Unintentional weight loss (losing pounds of weight without trying) – especially if it is persistent and significant – may signal particular medical conditions. And one of possible causes could be liver disease.
When something goes awry with your liver, your appetite may be affected, which then results in weight loss. However don’t take any conclusion on your own since unexplained weight loss can also be attributed by lots of factors. For accurate diagnosis, have a doctor or medical professional evaluate you!
Also, the point at which unintentional weight loss becomes a health concern may vary, depending on several factors. But in general, losing greater than 5 percent of your weight in 6-12 months with unknown reason should be medically evaluated (this is especially true if you are an older adult).
If your doctor think that you have liver disease, a number of tests are required. Identifying the exact cause and extent of liver damage is important to make effective treatment plan.
Your doctor is likely to start the diagnosis with your medical history and physical examination.
Weight loss linked to liver disease usually occurs with other symptoms of the disease. Depending on the kind of liver problem you have, you may also have some of the following symptoms:
- You’re easy to get tired (chronic fatigue).
- Skin problems, itchy skin for example.
- Changes in urine color (dark urine color).
- Upset stomach (diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting).
- Easy to bruise or bleed.
- Changes in stool color (bloody, tar-like stool, or pale stool color).
- Abdominal pain, sometimes with abdominal swelling.
- Jaundice (yellowish skin and whites of the eyes).
- Confusion due to toxin buildup in the blood.
It’s possible that the disease causes symptoms other than mentioned above. So tell your doctor any unusual symptoms you’re experiencing!
A number of blood tests called liver function tests may be required to diagnose the problem. In this procedure, your blood sample is analyzed in the lab to look for any abnormality that signals improper function of your liver. Sometimes blood tests are used to help analyze specific liver condition (genetic problem, for example).
Imaging tests may also be required to help show the extent of liver damage. There are some choices to choose from. These include MRI, CT-scan, or Ultrasound test.
Biopsy (if necessary)
In this procedure, a sample of tissue from the liver is removed. To extract a tissue sample, it is most often done using a special needle inserted into the body. The tissue sample is then analyzed in a laboratory to look for any signs of abnormality or liver damage.
For most types of liver disease, unintentional weight loss is also not common in the early stages. Once you start to have it and other symptoms of liver disease, your liver may have been significantly damaged. Because the symptoms are more likely to occur when the liver is already damaged and scarred!
Treatment depends on the diagnosis and the extent of liver damage. If it’s not severe, non-surgical medications and lifestyle measures are often enough to cope with. If it’s severe, surgery or even a liver transplant may be required!