Fatty liver disease symptoms: Watch out for spider angiomas on the skin – what are they?

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Simple lifestyle tweaks can reverse fatty liver disease – whether you know if you have it or not. There could be visible manifestations of the condition showing on your body, if you know what to look out for. The British Liver Trust said an early warning sign of a fatty liver is the presence of spider angiomas. These small, blood-like capillaries on the skin can have a shape resembling a spider.

To explain, the British Association of Dermatology said a spider angioma is “an enlarged blood vessel in the skin, resembling the body of a spider, from which smaller blood vessels extend” – akin to spider legs.

The central red spot may be raised, and smaller red blood vessels radiate outwards.

Pressing on a spider angioma will make it disappear, for its red colouring to return once you relieve any pressure on the area.

It can measure up to a centimetre in diameter, and is usually found on the face, upper chest, back and upper arms.

The skin expert continued to say that they can “occur in patients with liver or thyroid disease”.

However, these are not the only sign you must look out for if you’re curious as to whether you have a fatty liver or not.

This is because spider angiomas are very common, affecting “at least one in 10 of healthy adults”.

They may go away on their own, which can take several years, otherwise private clinics can offer electrodessication – the use of an electric current to get rid of it.

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The British Association of Dermatology confirmed that a vascular laser, such as the pulsed dye laser or KTP laser, can target the blood in the central small artery, causing it to shrink.

These usually painless treatments may leave a small permanent scar, such as a tiny dent in the skin.

Meanwhile, other noticeable warning signs of liver disease can include:

  • Blotchy red palms
  • Loss of weight and muscle wasting

The British Liver Trust warned of visible symptoms when the liver is struggling to function. These include:

  • Intensely itchy skin
  • White nails
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • Ends of fingers becoming wider/thicker (clubbed fingers)
  • Hair loss
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet (oedema)
  • Swelling of the abdomen (ascites)
  • In men, enlarged breasts and shrunken testes
  • In women, irregular or lack of menstrual period

Long-term, continuous damage to the liver causes the organ to form scar tissue.

This can lead to other bodily sensations, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, tenderness in the liver area and/or frequent muscle cramps.

The liver is the largest organ inside the body, which does hundreds of essential jobs, such as fighting infection and disease.

In order to protect your liver, you can cut down or stop drinking alcohol.

Another tip, put forward by the British Liver Trust, is to take up regular exercise, such as walking.

It’ll also be helpful to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, and to eat “slow-release starchy foods”, such as bread and potatoes.

Moreover, it’ll help to avoid refined sugars and saturated fats, such as chocolate, cakes and biscuits.

The charity advised: “If necessary, to slowly reduce your weight to a healthy level for your build and age, and keeping it there.”

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