What are the Common Symptoms of Liver Dysfunction and How to Test

The liver, which sits on your right side just under your rib cage, is your body’s second largest organ, after the skin. The liver has an essential function, which is to sift through the nutrients and waste that goes through your digestive system. The liver is also in charge of producing the bile that rids your body of toxins and improves your digestion process.

Liver diseases encompass different conditions that inhibit the functionality of your liver, and these can be caused by cancer, viruses, genetic disorders, and other causes. 

Liver diseases can be acute, which occurs when your liver suddenly undergoes damage. On the other hand, chronic liver damage occurs for six months or longer. 

Common Causes Of Liver Dysfunction 

Because they are related to an increased rate of obesity, certain types of liver disease are becoming prevalent. Research shows that an estimated 20% to 30% of adults have excess fatty liver, which results in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFD). 

This condition can also be called metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (NAFLD) because it’s linked to conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.

The professionals at say that early diagnosis through noninvasive tests can prevent further complications and prevent some of these conditions from becoming life-threatening.

So, what are some of the common causes of liver dysfunction? 



Viruses and parasites can affect the liver and cause inflammation, reducing liver functionality. These viruses can be spread through semen, blood, contaminated food substance, water, or by coming close to an infected person. Hepatitis viruses are the most typical types of liver infection which include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Genetic Transfer

An abnormal genetic transfer from one or both parents can lead to the buildup of substances in your liver, leading to liver damage. Some genetic liver diseases are Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Hemochromatosis, and Wilson’s disease. 

Abnormal Immune System

Autoimmune liver conditions occur when your immune system attacks your liver. Some autoimmune liver diseases include primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and autoimmune hepatitis. 

Other causes of liver dysfunction are cancer (liver cancer, liver adenoma, and bile duct cancer), accumulation of fat in the liver, use of herbal compounds, and heavy intake of over-the-counter drugs. 

Risk Factors of Liver Dysfunction

Some risk factors that increase your vulnerability to liver dysfunction are highlighted below:

  • Obesity
  • Heavy alcohol intake 
  • Tattoos or body piercings
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Blood transfusions done before 1992
  • Injecting drugs with contaminated needles
  • Exposure to people’s body fluids and blood
  • Exposure to chemicals and toxins
  • Having unprotected sex
  • Genetics

Common Symptoms of Liver Dysfunction 

Although it is rare for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to cause symptoms, other types of liver dysfunctions show certain symptoms. For some, jaundice develops when your liver can’t get rid of bilirubin; its symptom is the yellowing of the skin and the white of your eyes. 

Other well-detailed symptoms of liver dysfunction are outlined below. 

  • Abdominal pain on your right side
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Color changes in your urine and stool
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Edema – swelling in your arms or legs

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately. You might want to consider doing the following things when going for an appointment. 

  1. Write down all your essential medical information, including conditions you have previously experienced and any new symptoms you have developed. 
  2. Make a list of all your medication, including vitamins and supplements. 
  3. You might want to ask a relative to visit the doctor’s office with you. 
  4. Note all the recent changes that have taken place in your life, including all the factors you consider stressors. 
  5. Remember not to eat solid foods on the day of your appointment.
  6. Write down crucial questions to ask your doctor. 

How to Test for Liver Disease

Your health professional can recommend any of the following tests to help you diagnose the cause of your liver dysfunction.


Blood Test

It would be best if you did blood tests to measure the liver enzymes in your blood. The International Normalized Ratio blood clotting test is also done, and the results will indicate any problems you have with your liver.  

Imaging Test

Ultrasound, MRI, or CT scans are often done to identify the signs of liver damage, scarring, or tumors. Fibroscan is another type of ultrasound you can do to determine the level of scarring and the amount of fat deposited in your liver.

Liver Biopsy 

During a liver biopsy, a small sample of your liver tissue is removed with the help of a thin needle. The sample is then analyzed for signs of liver disease.


One of the ways to manage liver dysfunction and issues like Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is by adopting a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you’re struggling with obesity and your BMI is more than 25, (of course, this depends on your height and overall health), you should aim for a lower weight. Physicians recommend losing up to 10% of your weight since it also removes fat from the liver cells.

Additional preventive measures to consider are:

  • Increased water intake;
  • Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day; you can go cycling, jogging, or running;
  • If you are a smoker, you need to stop to reduce the risk factors like strokes and heart attacks;
  • A healthy and balanced diet is crucial in maintaining healthy liver; increase your intake of vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and fruits;
  • Stop drinking alcohol;
  • Take medicines as prescribed;

The liver has the ability to repair itself over time, so if you follow the advice above can help you reduce the inflammation and reverse the damage at a certain extent.

Don’t Delay. Seek Professional Help Today! 

Liver dysfunction is a life-threatening condition that reduces your quality of life. If you notice any symptoms, ensure you seek the help of professionals who can proffer solutions and necessary action steps to help alleviate any symptoms of liver dysfunction you might experience.