The sign when brushing your hair that could signal severe fatty liver disease
Liver disease: Doctor discusses causes and symptoms
The liver performs more than 500 vital functions for the body, including removing toxins from the blood and breaking down food to be converted into energy.
Any problems with the liver, therefore, can be dangerous.
If the liver becomes too damaged it can fail – something that can be fatal.
Fatty liver disease is one condition that can cause serious damage to the liver.
It occurs when there is a build-up of excess fat in the organ.
READ MORE The sign when you brush your teeth that could signal fatty liver disease
In its initial stages it often doesn’t present with any symptoms and can go by unnoticed for years.
However, the longer it goes on the more damaged the liver becomes.
The fourth and final stage of fatty liver disease is known as cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis happens after years of inflammation, leaving the liver scarred, lumpy and shrunken.
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“Cirrhosis is scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by long-term liver damage,” the NHS says.
“The scar tissue prevents the liver working properly.
“Cirrhosis is sometimes called end-stage liver disease because it happens after other stages of damage from conditions that affect the liver, such as hepatitis.
“Your liver may keep working even when you have cirrhosis. However, cirrhosis can eventually lead to liver failure, and you can get serious complications, which can be life threatening.
“Treatment may be able to stop cirrhosis from getting worse.”
Due to the severity of cirrhosis it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which might not be obvious.
One such symptom, according to NHS Inform, will be noticeable when brushing or washing your hair.
This is hair loss. There are a number of other health issues that can cause hair loss but if unexplained or coupled with other classic signs of cirrhosis it is worth seeking medical advice.
Other signs of cirrhosis include:
- Tiredness and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss and muscle wasting
- Feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting
- Tenderness or pain around the liver area
- Tiny red lines (blood capillaries) on the skin above waist level
- Very itchy skin
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- A tendency to bleed and bruise more easily, such as frequent nosebleeds or bleeding gums
- Fever and shivering attacks
- Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet due to a build-up of fluid (oedema)
- Swelling in your abdomen (tummy), due to a build-up of fluid known as ascites (severe cases can make you look heavily pregnant).
NHS Inform adds: “You may also notice changes in your personality, problems sleeping (insomnia), memory loss, confusion and difficulty concentrating.
“This is known as encephalopathy and occurs when toxins affect your brain because your liver is unable to remove them from your body.”
If you experience any signs of cirrhosis or fatty liver disease you should speak to your GP.
Factors that can increase your likelihood of developing fatty liver disease include:
- Being obese or overweight
- Not exercising enough
- If you have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol.
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