What Are Early Warning Signs of Severe Liver Damage?

Liver damage caused by alcohol abuse, cancers, and autoimmune or genetic disorders often presents symptoms of swelling in the legs, ankles and abdomen, dark urine, frequent bruising, and jaundice, the yellowing of the skin and eyes, states Mayo Clinic. Chronic fatigue, itching and changes in stool color are also common.

Individuals with liver damage may experience nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, states Mayo Clinic. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the accumulation of fat in the liver, does not always present with signs or symptoms. It can be a harmless condition in some individuals, life-threatening to others. When it does cause symptoms, individuals may experience pain in the upper-right abdominal region, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. Exact causes of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are not known, as of 2015; it is associated with many diseases and conditions.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is believed to be common and often causes no complications, explains Mayo Clinic. In some individuals, the excess fat causes liver inflammation, which impedes functioning and causes cirrhosis, or the scarring of the liver tissue. If the scarring becomes progressively severe enough over time and affects liver functionality, liver failure can occur. Predisposing risk factors for nonalcoholic liver disease include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, obesity, hypothyroidism and gastric bypass surgery.