Liver Diseases

Liver Disease: Overview and Causes

Liver disease is a broad term that covers all the potential problems that cause the liver to fail to perform its designated functions. Some of the more common causes of liver disease include:

  • Viral infections.
  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins.
  • High levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Obesity.
  • Excessive use of prescription drugs, especially certain antibiotics and medications used to treat convulsions or seizures.

Liver disease is a serious medical condition that can impair the organ's ability to carry out its normal functions, leading to a number of complications. Depending on the kind of liver disease, damage to the organ can range from minor inflammation and scarring, to cirrhosis, serious organ failure, and even death.

Symptoms of Liver Disease

Common symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Jaundice, a yellow tinge to the eyes and skin.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Dark urine.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever.

It's important to note that the symptoms of liver disease can vary widely depending on the type of liver disease, its severity, and whether it is acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). Consult with your physician if you are experiencing any symptoms of liver disease.

Diagnosis of Liver Disease

Your doctor will use a combination of diagnostic tests to diagnose liver diseases. Blood tests to measure liver enzymes and bilirubin levels will likely be done. In addition, imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan may be performed. In some cases, a liver biopsy may be required.

Treatment of Liver Disease

The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the disease, and this can depend on the cause. Treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes, surgery, or a liver transplant. It is important to follow the instructions of your physician when it comes to treatment.