Signs Your Liver Is Not Doing So well

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Wed, 16 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • The liver is the largest organ in the body and involved in a variety of tasks.
  • Enabling digestion, making vitamins, clotting factor, converting amino acids to protein, detoxifying food, medicines, alcohol and building immunity are some of the key liver functions.
  • Liver has a huge regenerative capacity but it is important to keep an eye on symptoms of liver damage.
  • Some of the signs of poor liver function include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, yellowing of skin, eyes, urine, weight loss etc.
  • With the right care, the liver health can be restored if one is vigilant especially of digestive issues

You may be surprised to know this, but if any organ in our body deserves an award for resilience, one just cannot ever beat the liver.

The liver is an organ that is engrossed in a multitude of tasks across the day, but someone whose thought rarely ever crosses our mind. This is because the liver never gives up on its duties till it can't take it anymore.

Recognizing signs of poor liver function is therefore very important to be able to regulate your diet.

Liver: Is it the indispensable one?

The liver, which is also the largest internal organ of our body, is involved in a variety of tasks. Let's understand a few.

Right from providing the fuel for your muscles when you indulge in a game of football, to enabling digest the food you eat, manufacturing the vitamin needed for our night vision, making the clotting factor lest your wound ceases to bleed, humanizing the amino acids in the food to proteins, converting the surplus proteins which your body no longer needs to urea and passing it to the kidneys for excretion, detoxifying the constituents of the food, medicines and even the alcohol that may be consumed, building immunity, there is no end to understanding the tasks being simultaneously performed by the liver.

Our liver is practically a participant in every activity meant for the healthy functioning of our body. Thus, if you ever see signs your liver is damaged, it becomes all the more important for us to be cautious if we see any single sign that indicates problems with our liver.

When does the liver put its foot down?

The liver is an extremely silent organ but it does have its way of complaining. Coming across signs and symptoms of poor liver function might be your liver's way of asking for attention. Let us understand when this happens.

  • Infiltration of fat in the liver is a matter of concern. The fat displaces functioning liver cells. This is known as fatty liver disease. The fat can even rupture into the bloodstream and produce vessel destruction in vital organs.
  • If uncontrolled, it can precede another problem wherein the liver cells are displaced by fibrous tissue making it hard and shrunken. This condition is known as liver cirrhosis and is likely to be very bad news indeed. It can be one of the early signs of liver disease or signs of liver issues.
  • Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is formed by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver. Jaundice occurs when the liver doesn't break down bilirubin properly and it is released in large quantities in your bloodstream. These can be the first signs of liver damage. 

Look out for those liver damage signs

Liver damage signs and symptoms are not easy to notice; it is important to keep a keen eye on your liver health. The liver has an enormous regenerative capacity. Often, it quietly goes about with its job even if a part of its cells are destroyed. Hence, it may be quite late by the time the liver shows any warning signs.

It is necessary to be vigilant and pay heed, especially to digestive issues. With timely treatment, the liver does heal. But without it, the liver will struggle to a particular level and may finally give up.

Look out for any of these persistent signs of poor liver health

  • Itchy skin, yellowing of the skin and eyes: When the liver does not carry out detoxification at its full capacity, bilirubin accumulates below the skin or in the eyes giving those yellow tints.
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss: These symptoms may indicate jaundice, and cause a lot of digestive discomforts.
  • Dark-colored urine, lighter stools: an indicator of a build-up of bilirubin, inefficient waste elimination from the body, also a symptom of jaundice, shows a problem with digestion.
  • Fatigue, weakness: Tired always? Poor liver health could be behind it. Low blood oxygen levels, and waste accumulation in the body may be the cause of fatigue.
  • Swelling in legs and ankles: Liver malfunction may lead to protein imbalance and fluid buildup in the extremities.
  • Tendency to bruise easily: A damaged liver may not produce the right quantity of blood clotting proteins, thus increasing the tendency to bruise easily

Early detection of symptoms is the key to preventing any further liver damage. Be sure to get to the doctor fast if you observe any of the above signs.


The liver is hugely resilient and continues to perform bodily functions even after the onset of damage. Early detection of poor liver function symptoms is the key to preventing any further liver damage. Be sure to get to the doctor fast if you observe any of the above signs.

Given minimum care, the liver can be a trusted companion and keep you in the pink of health. It is extremely important that to stay on top of your health, you take these self care tips for good health seriously.


Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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