The Fono

Health & Social Services

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Liver Disease

The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances. Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use.

Obesity is also associated with liver damage. Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring (cirrhosis), this can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.

The symptoms related to liver dysfunction include physical signs and a variety of symptoms related to digestive problems, coagulopathies (clotting disorder and bleeding disorder), blood sugar problems (hypoglycaemia), immune disorders, abnormal absorption of fats, nervous system disorders and metabolism problems.

Signs and symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine color
  • Pale stool color, or bloody or tar-colored stool
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily

Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of liver disease include:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High levels of triglycerides (fatty acids) in your blood
  • Injecting drugs using shared needles
  • Tattoos or body piercings
  • Blood transfusion before 1992
  • Exposure to other people's blood and body fluids
  • Unprotected sex
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins

Find out more

If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms speak to your doctor at The Fono who can run tests and diagnose any potential liver disorder or refer you on to a specialist if required.

Make an appointment