Liver disease: NHS Doctor talks about link with alcohol
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As fatty liver disease progresses, it can cause some bizarre problems around your body. The early signs may be subtle, such as pain in your upper abdomen. But as it progresses and more damage is done to your liver, the symptoms can become more extreme, such as memory loss or sleep disturbances.
You may also experience “muscle twitches”, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
These symptoms show up during the final stage of fatty liver disease when the liver has become scarred by long-term damage, known as cirrhosis.
At this point, the condition is irreversible and can ruin the function of your liver. The organ has a vital role in removing toxins from the blood.
But when it stops working, the toxins can build up and cause damage to your brain, known as hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
The Cleveland Clinic explains: “Toxins, such as ammonia, accumulate in the blood.
“Toxins in the bloodstream can travel to the brain and temporarily (or sometimes permanently) affect brain function.”
The other symptoms of HE include the following:
- Onset of anxiety or irritability
- Thinking problems
- Coordination issues
- Problems with concentrating
- Personality changes
- Reduced alertness
It’s worth noting that there are other causes of muscle spasms.
“Overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle strain or simply holding a position for a prolonged period can cause a muscle cramp,” noted Mayo Clinic.
If you experience muscle spasms and you know you have fatty liver disease, you should call your doctor.
The Cleveland Clinic added: “You should also notify your doctor if you have liver disease and become constipated.
“Bowel movements help rid the body of toxins. Having fewer bowel movements can cause toxins to build up in your body.”
Cirrhosis can show up in several other ways that are not necessarily related to HE.
According to the British Liver Trust, you may have a loss of appetite and lose weight if you have cirrhosis because it may make it more difficult for your body to process food.
The health body explains that “your liver is no longer able to store glycogen, a form of carbohydrate which it needs to meet your body’s energy demands”.
Feeling sick, vomiting, and “blotchy red palms” may also be signs of cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis isn’t curable but it can be managed. The British Liver Trust stated: “As well as generally eating healthily you may need to follow special advice to make sure you get enough energy (calories) and protein, and not too much salt.
“This is important to stop you from becoming malnourished and losing muscle mass.”
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