Liver Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment

Cary Gastroenterology Associates | Failing Suddenly: The Causes of…The liver is the second largest organ in your body (about the size of a football); it sits below your ribcage, on the right side of your abdomen, and is essential for eliminating toxic substances from your body. It also aids digestion by separating nutrients and waste as they move through your digestive system. Liver disease is several problems that damage your liver; it can be inherited or stem from alcohol use, viruses, and obesity. As more scar tissue replaces healthy liver ones, liver disease Katy can result in liver failure, a life-threatening condition.

Causes of liver disease

The causes of liver disease are numerous, each with its cause. Liver disease can be due to parasites and viruses that cause inflammation in your liver and reduce its function. Viruses can spread through contaminated food or water, blood, semen, or contact with an infected person. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are the most common types of liver infections caused by viruses.

Immune system abnormality can also cause liver disease when your immune system mistakenly attacks your liver. Examples of autoimmune liver diseases include primary biliary, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and autoimmune hepatitis.

Some people inherit liver diseases; this is especially true if you inherited an abnormal gene from one or both of your parents. Examples of genetic liver diseases include Wilson’s disease, hemochromatosis, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Certain cancers like liver cancer and bile duct cancer can also affect the function of your liver. Other common causes of liver diseases include long-term alcohol abuse, certain herbal compounds, accumulation of fat in the liver, and certain prescription or over-the-counter medication.

What are the symptoms of liver disease?

Some types of liver disease, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, don’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms. However, the most common sign for other liver diseases is jaundice– a yellowing of your skin and eyes. Your skin and eyes may appear yellowish when your liver can’t clear a substance called bilirubin. Liver disease may also cause other symptoms like abdominal pain, especially on the right side, dark urine color, itchy skin, fatigue, pale stool color, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, bruising easily, and swelling in your arms or legs.

What are the possible complications of liver disease?

Certain types of liver disease predispose you to liver cancer. Other types can continue to damage your liver and cause scarring, especially if the disease is left untreated. Over time, a diseased liver lacks enough healthy tissue to function, resulting in liver failure.

Treatment for liver disease

Treatment for liver disease depends on the type of liver disease you have and its severity. Some liver problems, like fatty liver disease, can be treated with lifestyle changes. These lifestyle modifications include limiting fat and calories, avoiding alcohol, and increasing fiber intake. Liver disease caused by alcohol consumption can improve with abstinence from alcohol.

Some types of liver diseases require medications. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for viral infections like hepatitis or inherited conditions like Wilson’s disease. A liver transplant is ultimately necessary when the liver disease progresses to liver failure.

If you have further questions about liver disease, consult your doctor at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists PLLC.