The liver is one of the essential organs needed for digesting food. It is the largest organ in the body and lies on the right side of the abdomen, and is the size of a football. It is also important to help the body get rid of toxic substances.
The vital functions performed by the liver are:
- Cholesterol Synthesis
- Bile production
- Warehouse of glucose
- Hormones and enzymes production
Liver disease may be due to genetic factors or inherited factors. Liver problems are also caused due to a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses, consumption of alcohol, and obesity.
Several diseases related to the liver are:
- Liver Failure: This is the condition when the liver does not function properly.
- Liver Cirrhosis: It is caused due to inflammation of the liver owing to excessive alcohol condition.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): Obesity is one of the reason.
Symptoms of Liver diseases
Usually, liver diseases do not show any visible signs and symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist, then it may include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine colour
- Pale stool colour
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- A tendency to bruise easily
Causes of Liver Diseases
There are plenty of reasons causing liver diseases, such as:
- Viruses and parasites infect the liver. The infection causes inflammation of the liver, thereby reducing the functioning of the liver. The viruses causing liver damage spread through blood or semen.
The most common types of liver hepatitis include:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Immune system abnormality
This is the condition that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks certain parts of the body. Some of the autoimmune liver diseases are:
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary biliary cholangitis
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Liver diseases can also be caused genetically. Inheriting an abnormal gene from one or both of the parents can be the cause to build up various substances in the body. This can be the cause of liver damage.
Inherited liver disease includes:
- Wilson’s disease
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
Cancer and other abnormal cell growth can also result in liver diseases such as:
- Liver cancer
- Bile Duct cancer
- Liver Adenoma
Some additional and common causes of liver disease include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Fat accumulation in the liver leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Intake of over-the-counter medications
- Certain herbal compounds
Factors that increase the chances of liver diseases are:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Type 2 diabetes
- Injecting drugs using shared needles
- Exposure to other people's blood and body fluids
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins
Diagnosis of The Liver Diseases
- Liver Functions tests
- Blood tests
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Liver biopsy
History of previous illness, alcohol habits, family history, and blood donation also lead to a confirmatory diagnosis of liver diseases.