Changes in your skin are often the first signs of liver disease, according to Ribhi Hazin, MD, main author of the article, Recognizing and treating cutaneous signs of liver disease, published in Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.
At first recognition of the cutaneous changes associated with liver conditions, it is important to seek professional advice on preventive care and treatment. Liver disease and gastroenterologists Chicago North Shore specialists, for example, work with patients to determine the source of the liver condition and proper treatment options at the first symptoms.
The connection between the liver and skin lies in that both organs clean and eliminate toxins from the body. The main functions of the liver include synthesizing proteins, neutralizing toxins, metabolizing fatty acids and carbohydrates. Skin signs of liver disease include alopecia, vitiligo, and xanthelasma. Alopecia is body hair loss, vitiligo is characterized by depigmentation of sections of skin, and xanthelasma is a strong yellowish cholesterol deposit that forms below the surface of the skin generally around the eyelids. In addition a general a buildup of fat lumps under the skin is another sign of liver disease.
Gastroenterology Chicago experts when treating patients for liver conditions first determine the type of liver disease through diagnostic tests. Liver function tests include testing for the presence of liver enzyme in the blood and testing for serum proteins and doing a platelet count.
As liver disease is a general term that includes all conditions that affect the function of the liver, when liver functions are impaired doctors usually diagnose the patient with the broad term of liver disease. Specific liver disease conditions include hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, and liver. Liver function can be damaged due to hereditary conditions, poor diet and lifestyle, viruses, poisons (such as alcohol), and autoimmunitity conditions.
To learn more about liver disease diagnosis and treatment, read Study Links Diabetes in Babies to What Pregnant Mothers Eat