Liver conditions don’t always rear their ugly heads in the early stages, leaving many patients unaware of having them.
Worryingly, research, presented at a meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago earlier this year, warned that more than one in three adults are living with a liver disorder that can hike their risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes.
Known as fatty liver disease, or NAFLD for short, it can be triggered by obesity, high blood sugar, and high levels of fats in the blood, which are often underlined by poor lifestyle choices.
Fortunately, Dr Romesh Angunawela, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and co-founder of OCL Vision, shared with Express.co.uk five warning signs of fatty liver disease that can be spotted on your face.
While NAFLD doesn’t usually cause noticeable problems in the early stages, symptoms can appear once the liver starts failing.
The doctor recommended looking out for the following red flags:
- Yellow skin and yellow eyes (jaundice)
- Red skin
- Small thread veins
- Waxy appearance.
These symptoms appear once your liver starts failing and indicate that your body is trying to clear different types of waste.
“Jaundice which causes the skin and eyes to appear yellow occurs due to increasing levels of bilirubin in the body,” the doctor said.
Once the liver is no longer functioning correctly, the bilirubin won’t be properly released.
If the brownish-yellow pigment of bile is higher than expected, the colour of your skin and the whites of your eyes can change.
Dr Angunawela said: “Consult your GP if you are concerned about your liver health.
“Symptoms in the eyes are found in the advanced stages of liver disease, so you must seek medical advice if you begin to notice them.”
The expert added that following a healthy diet and curbing your alcohol intake are “important” steps towards keeping your liver healthy and functioning as it should.