What is liver disease?

Liver disease refer to several conditions that can affect and damage your liver. If not treated early, liver disease can cause cirrhosis or scarring. As more scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, the liver can no longer function properly. Left untreated, liver disease can lead to liver failure or liver cancer.

Liver disease symptoms

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Swelling of legs and ankles
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Pale stool color, or bloody tar-colored stool
  • Cold sweat and turning pale
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily

People with these symptoms should seek medical help immediately!

What is the liver’s function in our body

The liver is a vital organ that carries out over 500 functions and is our largest internal organ. The liver has critical roles in breaking down food and storing energy, eliminating toxins, and fighting infections. Liver disorders kill over 2 million people per year and represents a significant global health challenge.

FAQs on liver disease

Blood tests

Liver enzymes measure the levels of liver enzymes in your blood. Other blood test like INR which is a blood-clotting test may also give your doctor more insight on the health of your liver.

Imaging tests

Your healthcare provider may do an ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to look for signs of damage, scarring or tumors in your liver.

Liver biopsy

During a liver biopsy, your healthcare provider uses a thin needle to remove a small sample of liver tissue. The tissue then gets analyzed in the laboratory to look for signs of liver disease.

  • To check for damage from liver infections or diseases
  • To monitor side effects of medications
  • To assess treatment for disease
  • To diagnose symtoms of a liver disorder
  • To check for liver damage from heavy alcohol use

Treatment is dependable on the type of liver disease and how far it has progressed. Possible treatments may include

  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight by reducing fatty foods from your diet
  • Medication to manage diabetes, cholesterol, and triglycerides

When liver disease progressed to liver failure, your healthcare provider may suggest liver transplant to replace the damaged liver cells with healthy liver cells.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid foods that contain trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup
  • Carefully manage intake of prescription / over-the-counter medications
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit consumption of red meat

You can minimize the likelihood of contracting viral hepatitis by practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.