Dr. Anurag Maheshwari Discusses Early Symptoms of Developing Liver Disease
Too often, patients with liver disease say they wish they had known about it sooner. There are symptoms, but many are unknown or often dismissed. As a result, liver disease can go undetected for a long time, making later treatment challenging.
Visits to the doctor have become routine for Maureen Hughes.
"I found out last December I have primary biliary cholangitis," Hughes said. "I didn't know what to think. I was shocked. I didn't know what liver disease was, what it felt like."
Huges also didn't know liver disease sometimes has early, subtle signs that are often easy to dismiss.
"My entire body was itchy. I would describe it to people like my skin was alive," she said.
She thought she had developed an allergy.
"Itching tends to be one of the most predominant symptoms of a liver disorder that we actively look for," explained Dr. Anurag Maheshwari, who specializes in liver disease at The Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Mercy Medical Center.
According to Dr. Maheshwari, when the liver has trouble functioning, bile deposits can build up in the skin instead of filtering out, which causes the itching.
Some other early signs may include fatigue, bruises or bleeding, spider veins, unusual breath and yellow skin or eyes.
"If you have something, any of these symptoms, persistent over time, more than a couple of weeks, then it is probably worth getting checked out," Dr. Maheshwari said.
Early detection can make all the difference.
"Once the medication regulated, I had a lot more energy, I was sleeping better. The itching is nearly gone for me now. It's a completely different life for me now," Hughes said.
View Mercy liver health expert Dr. Anurag Maheshwari’s interview regarding early signs of liver disease.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.