Liver disease can manifest in many different ways. Characteristic manifestations include jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes), cholestasis (reduction or stoppage of bile flow), liver enlargement, portal hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure in the veins that bring blood from the intestine to the liver), ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity), hepatic encephalopathy (deterioration of brain function due to buildup of toxic substances normally removed by the liver), and liver failure.
Sometimes the manifestations of liver disease are not obvious. For example, symptoms may include fatigue, a general feeling of illness, loss of appetite, and mild weight loss. However, people may not notice these symptoms, and these symptoms are also typical of many other diseases. Thus, liver disease can easily be overlooked, particularly in its early stages.
Last full review/revision August 2012 by Steven K. Herrine, MD