You probably don’t think about your liver every day, but it is hard at work filtering blood, removing waste and producing bile – among other essential functions. When your liver becomes sick or injured, it can affect other parts of your body and throw your health into jeopardy.
In today’s video, we’ll go over 5 ways your feet can tip you off to a problem with your liver, and when it’s time to call the doctor. So, if you’re ready, let’s get into it!
Number 5. Swelling.
Liver cirrhosis is a medical term used to describe the late stage scarring of the liver. This chronic condition can be caused by injury, disease, alcohol abuse, and prescription drugs.
Unfortunately, liver cirrhosis doesn’t always show symptoms. One lesser known warning sign of liver cirrhosis is swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles.
This happens because increased pressure in the portal vein can cause fluid to buildup in the legs and abdomen. The portal vein is the major vessel that drains the blood from the gut, gall bladder, pancreas, and spleen to the liver.
Individuals with liver cirrhosis may also suffer from fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, nausea, and bleeding, or bruising. Some additional warning signs may include developing spider-like veins on the skin, redness on the palms of the hands, itchy skin, and more.
Other than cirrhosis, a buildup of fluid in your legs, ankles, or feet, could also be a symptom of one of several related liver conditions: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, fatty liver disease, or even liver cancer, according to experts at the Cleveland Clinic.
Number 4. Muscle Cramps.
When it comes to common signs of liver cirrhosis, muscle cramps are typically NOT one of them. However, a 2014 study published in The American Journal of Medicine, found that 67 percent of participants with cirrhosis, experienced muscle cramps three months prior to the study.
According to the researchers, muscle cramps were associated with significantly decreased quality of life in patients diagnosed with cirrhosis.
It is still unclear why cirrhosis patients in the study suffered from muscle cramps. Researchers suggest that a neurologic, muscular, endocrine, or electrolyte imbalance could be a plausible cause.
Number 3. Joint Pain.
Joint pain in your legs or any other parts of your body can be caused by a variety of different reasons. Sometimes, it can be caused by viral hepatitis, a type of liver inflammation that can occur as acute infections, or as a chronic condition.
If your joint pain is due to viral hepatitis, you’ll notice other symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, jaundiced skin, dark urine, and general weakness.
Joint pain can come both from the illness that leads to cirrhosis, or cirrhosis can make the pain from existing conditions worse. For example, if you have fatty liver disease and are obese, you may also have osteoarthritis, says the Cleveland Clinic. And cirrhosis makes your bone and joint pain worse. Cirrhosis also causes inflammation in your entire body, which can lead to general pain.
Number 2. Spots on your Legs or Arms.
According to a report published in 2009 in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, changes in the skin are often the first clue that a person may have liver problems. And being able to recognize these signs is crucial to diagnosing liver conditions early.
One such skin symptom is Bier spots, which are characterized by irregularly shaped or mottled white spots that can develop on the legs, arms or hands.
Most cases of Bier spots are benign and have no cause for concern. However, it is still a good idea to consult your doctor if you notice them, especially if you experience any other common liver symptoms.
Number 1. Tingling or numbness.
People with liver problems may experience tingling or numbness in their feet. This can be because of a hepatitis C infection, alcoholic liver disease, or diabetes. Diabetes is more common in people with liver problems because the liver regulates glucose levels. Any of these conditions can cause peripheral neuropathy, which damages the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.
There you have it, the five ways your legs and feet can signal liver problems. Seek medical treatment if any of these symptoms do not go away after a few days of at-home treatment
To support your liver, so that it doesn’t have to work as hard during the detox process, avoid inflammatory foods, and replace with anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Get our 100% FREE Anti-inflammatory Diet Plan by clicking the link below.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
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Watch out for our next video on the best foods to clean out your liver.