Chronic Liver Diseases (CLD)

Chronic Liver Diseases (CLD)

Chronic liver disease (CLD) is a group of conditions that affects the liver over a long period of time. Common symptoms of CLD include fatigue, jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes, weight loss, and abdominal pain. CLD can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral infections, alcohol abuse, and certain drugs. It can also be the result of inherited genetic disorders. CLD can lead to severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) if it is not managed properly.

Cirrhosis is the most severe form of CLD and can often become life-threatening. It is characterized by the replacement of healthy liver tissue with scar tissue, which can lead to poor liver function and a weakened immune system. Cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Risk Factors

CLD is frequently caused by viral hepatitis, which includes Hepatitis A, B, and C. These viruses are spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids. CLD can also be caused by alcohol abuse and other toxins, such as certain drugs and metals. People with inherited genetic disorders, including hemochromatosis and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, are also at risk for developing CLD.

Certain lifestyle factors can increase the risk of CLD, such as diet, exercise, and smoking. A diet that is high in fat and alcohol, and low in fruits and vegetables, can contribute to the development of CLD. Additionally, people who do not exercise regularly are at increased risk for developing CLD because of a lack of physical activity. Finally, smoking is a known risk factor for CLD, since the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the liver.

Symptoms & Treatment

Common symptoms of CLD include fatigue, jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes, weight loss, and abdominal pain. In more advanced cases, CLD may cause bleeding from the rectum due to increased pressure in the liver. Liver failure is the most severe symptom of CLD and can lead to death.

Early diagnosis and proper treatment of CLD is important to prevent more serious complications. Treatment for CLD may include lifestyle changes, such as abstaining from alcohol or following a healthy diet, as well as medications to reduce inflammation and control liver damage. In severe cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.


It is important to be aware of the risk factors for CLD and take steps to reduce them. These may include:

  • Avoiding alcohol and substances that can damage the liver
  • Limiting exposure to viruses that can cause CLD
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and B
  • Exercising regularly
  • Not smoking