If my blood work constantly comes back normal, but my symptoms point to liver problems. Could the doctors be missing something?

I'm a 44 year old woman. Not a drinker, although I have smoked for 5 years now. I have always had very good health, until a year ago. I have, despite my good physical health, throughout my life suffered from severe recurring depression, with suicidal tendencies. As I said, I became sick a year ago. No one can figure out what us wrong. And I cannot go on like this. I truly cannot. Please, please help me

23 Replies

  • Hi Christine, welcome to the forum. What are your symptoms? We can't diagnose you on this forum, but we can discuss if your symptoms are exclusive to liver disease.

    Have you had any ultra sounds of the liver? this is usually the next step in diagnosing liver disease.

  • I'm sorry . I obviously can't read directions (square block , round hole problems!). I have had seizure-like episodes ( I am aware, but not able to stop my body), I have moderate to severe swelling, especially in my hands and feet. I can expect this swelling 9 out of 10 days. I have gained 30 lbs. I am often confused. I feel like I do not know how to be an adult, at times. My abdomem swells as well. Often, it appears as tho, I am 5 months pregnant . But , the abdomem is rock hard! I do have issues with my GI tract, of this I am aware.I need almost 16 hrs of sleep a day. And, the times when I don't , I will fall asleep while standing up, cooking dinner, etc. I have had several very large bruises due to that. There's probably another 20, that I just can't seem to remember right now. But, is that enough to go on? I'm tired of being sick. I've heard that I'm faking this. Why?, Why would I do that! I have always been a little vain, why would I suddenly develop a fake disease, that makes me Ugly! I can't do this. My personality has changed . I cry constantly . I am unable to do housework . Help? Please!

  • Have you had your thyroid levels tested ?

  • Hi Christina,

    Sounds like you're very sick. And some of those symptoms could be from liver disease, the swelling, bruising and confusion and fatigue. However the seizures are not something I've heard of as being associated with liver disease.

    The problem I would have associating this with liver disease is that with those symptoms I can only imagine your blood tests would show abnormalities.

  • Can you understand my frustration ? I'm losing the last remnants of my youth , on being ill! I have lost my business , and my reputation ! Sometimes , I have to use a walker! It has been a while, but I don't want to live like this! What doctor should I go to? I have not been especially aggressive about finding out what is going on, until recently . I just kept thinking that I'd kick it! I don't get sick. I need to find answers. Should I start with an internal medicine Dr?

    Thank you thank you !!

  • " internal medicine Dr?" - What do you mean? Who have you spoken to so far? Have you got further than your GP?

  • Could you ask for a fibro scan? my understanding is that the blood tests are not conclusive. (My boyfriend's blood tests are good or at least not bad but he has a liver disease diagnosis and is going for a fibro scan.) on the other hand when he had a kidney scare all his symptoms can also be caused by kidney failure and also by heart failure. I thought four months was slow to get answers. so Sorry you are still waiting after a year.

  • Thank you !! I will ask for that. I have finally broken down, and will go to an internal Medicine Dr, I suffer from a slight to moderater case of agoraphobia , since all this came about. But, is that who I should be going to ?

    Is your boyfriend doing better, though ?? If you have been there for him along the way, I hope you know how much he needed you! I hope he has told you that he appreciates you!! I have no one. My kids are sick of me being sick. The oldest are in their early 20's. They do not want to be bothered by a wacko, sick, fat mom.

    I appreciate your comment tremendously ! Thank you so much! Truly

  • He went into hospital and after a while on the heart ward was moved to gastro, which seems the right department for liver. I've been very unimpressed with the hospital. . time and resources more than individuals. . but the gp has been brilliant.

    The mental. . depression in his case. . side of it was completely unexpected to me. he's been struggling alright.

    It's hard for children because of course they have their own lives to lead and I don't think you appreciate your mother until you think about having children of your own?

    With very best wishes

  • Hi Christina.

    As joe has asked what are your symptoms ? and what makes you think you might have damaged liver??

    My husband has been a heavy drinker for over 30 years and his blood results have only just started coming back to being abnormal and even now its just showing that his kidneys are ok,but he is showing signs of end stage liver failure....

    It was only when hubby was in the hospital a few months ago and he came out the next days his legs started swelling up like a balloon and he went to the drs and his liver count was higher than it had been showing and his protein level is very low but his kidney results are ok.but up untill then his bloods all came back normal.

    The drs have suggested he go for a scan but he insists he had one in the hospital but im not sure he did anyway, my point is i wouldnt just go by the blood results because sometimes i think they only start to show when its got to the end stages, i guess it depends on each individual. I would go back to the drs if you were still concerned and ask for a scan to be done.

    Hope you get it sorted soon.Because if something is bad then at least it can be treated before you get really sick,its not a nice thing.

  • Hi Lynn66, or just Lynn?😉 I appreciate your comment ! I think that I described my symptoms in the wrong place. I wish I could say that that is abnormal, to put something in the wrong place, but, it is not abnormal at all for me! My ansent-mindedness, or forgetfulness and/or confusion is one of the symptoms of liver issues. My legs, feet, hands, face. They all swell! My abdomen makes me appear as though I truly am 5 months pregnant ! My fatigue, has taken over everything in my life! As have all the other symptoms. And, I get told I'm faking it!! Why would I want to fake a disease, so that my life completely falls apart.

    Good luck to you and your husband !!! You know, my heart rate has raised connsideraby simce all this happened . I haven't thought heart. I just have a feeling that that is where my issues are stemming from. And they all align with this theory except for the issue of being (, or is it having? Sometimes grammar boggles me!

    Thanks again, and thank you so so much!

  • I had similar problems so paid private for a Fibroscan results came back perfect bloods perfect so is more than likely a mental health issue like you had depression and anxiety for years! Fibroscan in Bristol £200 well worth the money as will show and fibrosis or worse! I'm 43 and otherwise healthy but feel unwell most of you time! The brain has a lot to answer too! !

  • And I do think that stress, anxiety , depression, and whatever else is in my head, and/or possibly psyce, is playing a huge huge part, I think there is physiological component to my illness as well.

    Thanks a million for responding !! hugs and kisses,


  • i agree; it doesn't seem right that so many GP's seem to go by just blood test resulting; so some people may think they are perfectly fine when blood tests appear as normal or almost normal. Further tests are needed as suggested. If someone is, say an alcoholic, and they go to their GP with concern re for example, they wish to stop drinking/cut down; in my view, more than blood testing should be done; many peoples live may be saved this way/lifestyle changes made far quicker for example. It seems like only when something major happens that further tests are undertaken. Sometimes the NHS baffles me. Im sure of more routine testing was done re many illnesses, the NHS could save a fortune in the long term.

  • In Japan, they take a very different approach to the one used in the UK. According to a friend of ours (who is Japanese), the approach is to prevent a situation before it becomes more difficult to treat. So for instance, ladies who are pregnant will routinely be weighed (amongst other things no doubt) and if they are gaining too much weight, then they are told to amend their diet in order for it to come back to a normal weight gain for that stage of pregnancy. This is an expected approach and does not only apply to pregnancy. I am not convinced however that this would go down very well in the UK, although I do think prevention rather than cure is the best idea.

  • We are having this same discussion on another site. If you have liver disease you very well could be very sick and have liver enzymes that look normal or close to normal. I understand that by the time you get to decompensated liver disease there are no more cells to be injured so your alt, ast, and alk phos may look really good. At the same time though you should see abnormal albumin, bilirubin, inr. These are all functions that the diseased organ is suppose to regulate and can't anymore. Depending on how in depth the blood work was they could very well miss decompensated liver disease. Beyond blood test results a person with decompensated liver disease should appear very ill and a medical provider should be able to see something is very wrong. They could be very yellow, have asities, differculty breathing and a whole host of symptoms that should not be ignored. With that being said there are many people who feel very healthy and out of the blue find out they have liver problems but that is usually caught by mistake and presents in abnormal liver function tests. So I guess the take away is if you feel like something is very wrong and your doctor isn't listening then change doctors. You know your body better than anyone else and should not ignore the warning it is sending you. Good luck.

  • Hi nhamoor51.. I was very interested In your post , you seem to know a bit about the liver readings . I wanted to ask ,, I was diagnosed with chirrosis in 2008 , I had acites , jaundice and malnutrition . Had 3 drains done . Was discharged in 2010

    . I did relapse and spent a year drinking every day when my dad passed away . I had an LFT in June and all results were normal so to speak . I do get tired very easy but then I have terrible insomnia too . I wanted to ask what is compensated or decompressed liver disease , how would you know what one you had ?? Thank you .. Linda

  • Linda, have you experienced any confusion, forgetfulness, irritability,or noticeably by others personality changes subtle or otherwise?

  • Hi will5, no , not that I know of , I do get a annoyed at times if there is a reason to be , but no confusion , my only main problem is lack of sleep . I am on 5 mg diazepam for anxiety and 100 mg sertraline for depression which I was diagnosed with in March . The meds have helped me cope with day to day situations that I could not do before . Other than that just b12 and thiamine . But my insomnia is really bad . but I get tired easily during the day which is obvious really . Thank you for replying back as I don't know what compensated is or decompressed means as I was never told .

  • If your liver is ailing B12 is not very helpful nor is to much Iron in your diet there are a lot of books and internet on the liver they are a good compliment to your therapy Good Luck

  • Well I had my last LFT done in June and all was ok , I take b12 as I don't eat much iron rich food . I do hand an app that monitors my daily intake of iron and yes I do know too much so toxic to the liver , yes I do look on line but don't seem to have the answer to my original question

  • Hi millie. Compensated means that the liver may be scarred or struggling but still able to perform many of its 500 different functions. When it becomes decompensated this is no longer possible which is why it,s so important to try and prevent this through diet, and stopping the two main avenues of attack alcohol and hep. Many people live with compensated livers without further complications if they look after themselves (ie getting treated for the hep virus, which is why at present they are being treated first). Some people bounce between compensated and decompensated for years. It,s important to keep an eye on things with blood tests for example, and going for ultrasounds if recommended to prevent any further damage if there is any already. Hope that answers your question re compensated or decompensated a little, hope someone can explain it better for you. I hope you,re well. Look after yourself. anne p.s. your doctor will know.

  • hi Anne . Thank you so much !! That is exactly what answer I was looking for 😊. After Diagnosis in 2008 all these words were alien to me , I did not even know how poorly I actually was , and the word ascites .. Well the consultant may have well been speaking another language as far as I was concerned .so I thank you my friend for explaing this to me . Well I was discharged from hospital two years ago , my last liver scan was a year ago by my request I may add .. I an never seen on a regular basis by neither the hospital or my GP . It's me that asks for these tests to be done as I really would like to low how the disease is . If it's spreading etc . My last LFT in June was fine , and my scan last September was ok , just said was as to be expected echogenically with my Cirrosis , never actually asked my doctor as I was not aware untill I joined this site . I have never had any hep tests either ? . Think I will see my doctor then next week . I am fine thank you for asking .. Just made my own salt free hot chicken curry but I use the quorn chicken as it is high in protein and less fat . Hope you are well too Anne . Have a lovely weekend. So much appreciate tor reply .. Thank you . Take care ☺️

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