How do you recognize cirrhosis from skin symptoms?


Quick Answer

According to MedicineNet, one of the symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver is a yellowing of the skin, known as jaundice. Jaundice is caused when bilirubin, a waste product produced when red blood cells break down, builds up in the body. Normally bilirubin is removed by the liver. When the liver is scarred from cirrhosis, it does not effectively remove the bilirubin.

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Full Answer

Jaundice causes the skin and the white part of the eyes to have a yellow or brownish color and increases the itchiness of the skin, according to MedicineNet. Often the yellow hue is first noticed on the palms of the hands where the skin is naturally lighter. Although jaundice is associated with cirrhosis, it can be caused by other conditions. The Mayo Clinic states that laboratory tests, imaging tests or biopsies are required for a definitive diagnosis of cirrhosis. Other conditions associated with jaundice include a blocked bile duct, blood disorders, other liver conditions and reactions to some medications.

MedicineNet lists other symptoms of cirrhosis including abnormal fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, itchy skin, and irregular bruising or bleeding. Cirrhosis patients may also have swelling in the legs or abdomen due to fluid accumulation. Symptoms rarely occur before the disease progresses to an advanced stage. Those at risk for liver cirrhosis should seek regular care from a physician for early diagnosis.

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