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How to Recognize the Symptoms of Liver Disease

Liver disease is a broad term for conditions, diseases, or infections that can make the liver function improperly or stop liver function altogether. Use this guide to help recognize the symptoms.


  • Step 1: Learn the facts Learn what causes liver disease, including viruses, bacteria, and chemical or physical changes. Liver disease isn't always accompanied by obvious symptoms.
  • TIP: Check your family history. Liver disease can be hereditary.
  • Step 2: Look for the yellow Look for yellowing of the eyes or the skin, also known as jaundice, which is a clear indicator of liver disease.
  • Step 3: Notice changes in eating habits Pay attention to changes in your relationship with food and eating, including a loss of appetite, nausea, changes in your weight, and vomiting.
  • Step 4: Check your toilet Check your urine and stool. Liver disease symptoms include diarrhea, light-colored stool, and dark urine.
  • Step 5: Feel the itch Feel the itch -- liver disease can give you an itchy sensation that cannot be relieved.
  • Step 6: Know the pain Know what type of abdominal pain occurs with liver disease. Pain is typically in the upper right part of the stomach.
  • TIP: Pay attention to muscle aches and pains as well, as these can also be a symptom.
  • Step 7: Look for behavioral changes Look for changes in behavior, including depression, a loss of sex drive, fatigue, and a vague feeling of illness known as malaise.
  • Step 8: Get tested See your doctor and get a liver function test. If you have liver disease, your test will come back as abnormal. Talk with your doctor about the steps you need to take for treatment.
  • FACT: The liver is the largest organ inside the human body.

You Will Need

  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Changes in weight
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Light-colored stool
  • Dark urine
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Behaviorial changes
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Liver function test
  • Doctor
  • Family history (optional)

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