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Alpha-1 Liver Disease: Symptoms

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This information was reviewed and approved by Karin A. Pacheco, MD, MSPH, Robert A. Sandhaus, MD, PhD, FCCP (11/1/2017).

Many people with Alpha-1 liver disease have no symptoms until late stages of the disease. When the liver damage reaches the most severe form, liver cirrhosis can occur.

Cirrhosis is when the hepatocytes are replaced with scar tissue.

People with cirrhosis often experience:


  • loss of appetite

  • weakness, fatigue

  • nausea

  • abdominal pain

  • weight loss

  • skin discoloration (jaundice or yellowing of the skin) and

  • fluid accumulation under the skin (edema) or within the abdomen (ascites)

  • Bruising easily and abnormal bleeding, like nose or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Other symptoms of severe liver disease can include sensitivity to certain medications cleared from the system via the liver, changes in personality and sleep habits, increased risk for infections and liver cancer.