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11/13/2011 01:52 PM

Your Earliest Signs / Symptoms of Liver Disease

MoonWatcher
MoonWatcherPosts: 733
Member

It seems a lot of folks visit this site (with and without posting) worried about whether they have liver disease, looking for answers to questions like "does this sound like it"? "Do I have it"? I know I did!

I thought perhaps it would be helpful if we all reported our earliest symptoms of liver disease, and perhaps the etiology (alcohol, Hep-C, PBC, etc).

From what I found surfing around the web, the earliest signs or symptoms of cirrhosis are:

A: Nothing (cirrhosis gives no early warning), or

B: Anorexia, Weight Loss, and Fatigue (once cirrhosis is well established).

Perhaps if we look back before major symptoms developed, we might be able to recall some early warnings of liver disease that occurred early on. My doctor said it appears something is going on with me, but a biopsy is not warranted at this stage, and that I simply need to avoid alcohol, so here I am, looking for answers to how much trouble I may be in. I'm sure many more are doing the same.

Etiology: Alcohol, no confirmed diagnosis (biopsy) at this time.

My Symptoms:

Peculiar new and different body odors that come and go, and are noticeable on my pillow and bedding. Coffee and many vitamins (especially vitamin E) produce an exceptionally strong odor.

"Liver Palms" or Palmer Erythema. Irregular reddened areas near the wrist, and on the prominences below my fingers. If I open my hand hard (as far as I can), the palm blanches white except for the areas mentioned above, which become much more noticeable.

"Liver Stars" or Spider Nevus (AKA spider angioma) on my chest, between the nipple line and collar bone. Mine are unusual in that there is no obvious blood vessel at the center, or radiating outward from the nevus. They appear as irregularly shaped, blurry reddish patches (around a quarter inch in diameter), much like an accidental marking with a felt tip pen that is a few days old (fading). These are interspaced with some white spots around the same size, which appears to be a lack of pigment in these small areas of skin.

I have also experienced a dull ache under my ribs on my right side (a fatty liver?) that has made it uncomfortable for me to sleep on my right side. If I didn't know my liver was under there, I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to this.

And... A feeling if being "too full" and queasy after eating large meals. This feeling would often last for hours after a meal and indicates "gastroparesis", or delayed gastric emptying.

All these symptoms became remarkably worse for several months when I quit drinking. They have now largely resolved, except for the red palms and liver stars on my chest.

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11/13/2011 03:29 PM
mikealpha1
mikealpha1  
Posts: 2286
Group Leader

Diarrhea and blood tests showed high ALT/AST (300 and 150 I don't know which was which, that was 20 years ago.) 15 years later edema, finally diagnosed alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency.

11/13/2011 04:03 PM
1polarbear
1polarbear  
Posts: 619
Member

Fatigue (to the point I didn't know if I'd make it driving home from work), the 'over full' feeling (thought it was just indigestion, doc put me on Prevacid), edema in my feet (doc said to cut salt out), itching (doc gave me some Hydrocortisone), dry eyes (eye doc thought it was a plugged tear duct, gave me ointment), severe infection after a cat bite (urgent care doc said my immune system wasn't fighting very hard), positive for HPV (sexually inactive for years, Gyno doc said it has been dormant and my immune system stopped fighting it). These things all happened over the course of 2 or 3 years before my ASP and GGT elevated. Then positive ANA test. Had MRI, showed possible cirrhosis, biopsy showed severe cirrhosis. Mayo clinic has it now to diagnosis. I have no idea why I have cirrhosis, no alcohol or drug use, no Hep + viruses, negative for all other causes.

11/13/2011 04:24 PM
tabbtech
tabbtech  
Posts: 674
Member

I think this is an especially good idea, as I have long thought that just a little more checking would have found my liver decease much earlier.

Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, I don't know what the ALT/AST numbers were but the doctor said that he couldn't give me Lipitor because of a small liver problem.

Within a few years I started to complain to my doc. that I was feeling too tired much of the time. He told me I was getting older and had to expect that I wouldn't be 18 forever. I was still in very good shape still thought nothing of working hard for 10-12 hrs. a day.

After 13 years of thinking maybe I had this Chronic Fatigue or something I got tired of hearing that I was just getting old so I changed doctors.

The new doc. ran some tests based on I told him, by this time my right side was pretty sore and now the left side was getting sore. I had told the previous doc. about the left side, once again he told me that I was getting old. Good-bye doc. Anyway the new doc sent me for a bunch of tests and eventually found that I already had Liver Cirrhosis, a swollen spleen, Portal-Hypertension, a platelet count of 51,000, INR at 1.2.

Not too bad yet but my point is that if the doctor had investigated why I was having this fatigue much earlier he would have found this problem possibly before it had turned to Cirrhosis.

My advice would be that if you have high blood pressure and the doctor tells you that you have a liver problem, tell the doc. to keep an eye on your platelet count or have an ultra-sound or do something to check and be certain that you don't have Liver decease. Also If your ALT/AST are high all the time that means there is inflammation and the cause of that should be investigated.

I suppose I'm saying that the first early warning of Liver decease is high blood pressure and high ALT/AST. Yeah that's when the doc. should start to keep a close eye out for it.

Peace and Joy too All

Paul


11/13/2011 04:28 PM
tabbtech
tabbtech  
Posts: 674
Member

I'm the same way Robyn. I call it Out of the Blue Cirrhosis.

Paul


11/13/2011 06:10 PM
prayer
prayer  
Posts: 526
Member

around 4 years ago my husband wasn't allowed to give blood because his iron was too low, after the second time of this happening he went to the Dr. He than began blood pressure meds a couple years ago and most of the symptoms started about a year or so ago, life changing things. He was so tired all the time, no energy at all and this was a man that used to work all the time and then slit wood in the evenings and weekends. I noticed mood changes and thought maybe he was depressed. He was diagnosed with alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency , third generation to get cirrhosisSad

11/13/2011 08:56 PM
MoonWatcher
MoonWatcherPosts: 733
Member

Thanks so much for your responses, and my sympathies to those who have been stricken with this disease through no fault of their own.

I've always been a drinker, but never out of control (Joe Six-pack, beer and TV in the evening). I work in healthcare and always watch my own health closely. I had liver enzymes done every couple years (all normal!) and a few times a year, I'd look online to see if I had any symptoms of liver disease, but all I ever saw was descriptions of end stage disease. Nothing like that going on with me, so I would celebrate with a cold one.

The little spots on my chest never worried me at all because they didn't have blood vessels in them. When my body odor changed I didn't know what to think and there is really nothing online about this at all. When I started feeling ill after eating and learned about gastroparesis as a symptom of liver disease, I realized what was going on and quit drinking immediately. My blood pressure went up during my easy/uneventful detox, but next thing you know I'm getting liver palms and new spots popping up on my chest all over.

I just wish someone would have documented these early warnings of liver disease so I could have cleaned up my act earlier. It's something I've noticed about the medical profession... We are not too good at diagnostics and early detection, but get good and sick and we do extensive damage control quite well.

Perhaps someone will see our work here and it will make a difference in their lives.

Thanks again, and GodBless.

Post edited by: MoonWatcher, at: 11/13/2011 08:57 PM


11/14/2011 07:05 AM
mpmom
mpmom  
Posts: 3275
VIP Member
I'm an Advocate

Probably the first symptom I had was spider nevi on both upper arms. But since I also have Psoriasis I just figure it was nothing to worry about But with in a few months I couldn't eat with out vomiting , and had severe fatigue. I lost 20 pounds in 1 week. The original Dr I was seeing had done lab work the year before but never told me that my ALT/AST were elevated and Bilirubin /Albumin / Platelets were abnormal. (That's why I started getting copies of ALL test results, I'll check them myself thank you) My NEW Family Dr found the abnormal labs But wasn't concerned.and eventually my endocrinologist sent me to a Hepatologist he knew. When he walked into the room the first thing he said was OH you have Liver Disease. By then I was really sick . After tons of blood work, US and a biopsy they gave me 2 years max.With Out Transplant. They believe that it was caused by a Medication I was taking at the time. But I also have a strong family history of Nash and my Mom had Alpha 1.

My Liver was visualized 2 years before during surgery and had normal appearance and my labs were normal. So I went from a apparent normal liver to severe Cirrhosis in 2 years.


11/14/2011 07:20 AM
1polarbear
1polarbear  
Posts: 619
Member

I hate the 'you're getting older' crap! Every time I mentioned how I was feeling to friends (the tiredness, the achiness, the inability to eat certain things, the brain confusion) they all said, it sucks to get old. I felt like I was just complaining over nothing. But I remember sitting alone in my room crying that I was only 53 and if I had to deal with these feelings and the body falling apart for another 30 years I think I'll just give up. My mom was 80 when she passed away and I remember in her last few years she got very tired and had had enough of fighting high blood pressure, diabetes, lupus and whatever else she took pills for. But she was in her late 70's when she started to fall apart and it was really after my sister was killed. I think her physical health deteriorated from depression. But me? I was healthy, happy with my life, could work 2 jobs and not be bothered by fatigue. I had started back to school when I turned 50 for Veterinary Nurse and still worked my full time job as a medical records consultant. I also worked at the Vet Clinic part time. I am now almost done with the book work of school but can't do the last internship, physically I can't work 16 hour days anymore. I had to quit the clinic 6 months ago. This has been a life changing disease. Although I still feel ok most of the time if I don't push myself, eat right and take my meds. My AST/ALT has never been out of range but the ALP has been elevated for the last couple of years. My doc did do an US 2 years ago and it showed nothing wrong with my liver (no masses or lesions etc).

Paul, I like that diagnosis! out of the blue cirrhosis!! Is it in a med book somewhere??? Smile


11/14/2011 11:39 AM
iwiham1027
iwiham1027  
Posts: 940
Member

Ummm 20 years (1991) ago I noticed that my eyes were very yellow my right side hurt some but other than that I was fine. I was also 3 weeks pregnant and when I went to the Doctor I was told I was jaundice. My AST & ALT were is the 800 and because I was pregnant I got yelled at for it, they did not give me medications nor did they find a cause. It took 2 years to clear up finally and that was the end of it. As the years went by I found I was having a harder time taking certain medications some I just could not tolerate others at all.. Liver tests were never repeated and life went on. In 2006 I was again jaundice, sleeping all the time really out of it and told my husband something was very wrong had no idea what it was but thought I should get checked out at the ER he took and me WOW I had autoimmune hepatitis in full swing and all my labs were so wacked out I was in liver failure. Funny thing was no one else noticed how yellow I actually was not even me? And so my journey began again but not like before I was never diagnosed in 91 if I had been pherhaps I could have slowed down the process with medications and maybe I would not be in the shape I am today! Cheryl
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