Merck Manual

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Some Features* of Liver Disease

Some Features* of Liver Disease



A yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

Reduction or stoppage of bile flow


Liver enlargement

Accumulation of fluid within the abdomen, sometimes causing the abdomen to swell

Confusion caused by deterioration of brain function due to buildup of toxic substances in the blood, which are normally removed by the liver

Bleeding in the esophagus and/or stomach, often from enlarged, twisted veins (varicose veins, or varices)

Abnormally high blood pressure in the veins that bring blood from the intestine to the liver (the portal vein and its branches)

Skin symptoms

Spiderlike blood vessels on the face and chest

Red palms

Bright red complexion


Blood abnormalities

A decreased number of white blood cells (leukopenia)

A tendency to bleed (coagulopathy)

Hormonal abnormalities

High levels of insulin but a poor response to it (insulin resistance), leading to high blood sugar levels

Malfunction of the adrenal glands, leading to light-headedness when a person stands up, fatigue, and sometimes patches of dark skin

In women, ending of menstrual periods and decreased fertility

Heart and blood vessel abnormalities

An increase in heart rate and in the amount of blood pumped

Low blood pressure (hypotension)

General symptoms



Weight loss

Poor appetite



Abdominal pain

* Features include symptoms and results of the doctor's examination. Features mentioned are typical but not always present.