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Causes Liver Disease

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Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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Liver Disease is any disturbance of liver function that causes illness. The liver is responsible for many critical functions within the body and should it become diseased or injured, loss of those functions can cause significant damage to the body. Liver disease is also referred to as hepatic Disease. Liver Disease is a broad term that covers all potential problems that cause the liver to fail to perform its designated functions. Usually, more than 75% or three quarters of liver tissue needs to be affected before a decrease in function occurs. The liver is the largest solid organ in the body; and is also considered a gland because, among its many functions, it makes and secretes bile. The liver is located in the upper right portion of the abdomen protected by a rib cage. It has two main lobes that are made up of tiny lobules. Liver cells have two different sources of blood supply. The Hepatic artery supplies oxygen rich blood that is pumped from the heart, while portal vein supplies nutrients from the intestine and spleen. Normally, veins return blood from body to heart, but portal veins allow nutrients and chemicals from the digestive tract to enter the liver for processing and filtering prior to entering general circulation. Portal vein also efficiently delivers chemicals and proteins that liver cells need to produce proteins, cholesterol, and glycogen required for normal body activities. As part of its function, liver makes bile, fluid that contains, among other substances, water, chemicals, and bile acids. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and when food enters the duodenum, bile is secreted into the duodenum, to aid in digestion of food. The liver is the only organ in the body that can easily replace damaged cells, but if enough cells are lose, liver may not be able to meet the needs of the body. Liver can be considered a factory; and among its many functions include: production of bile that is required in digestion of food, in particular fats Storing of extra glucose or sugar as glycogen, and then converting it back into glucose when the body needs it for energy Production of blood clotting factors Production of amino acids, including those use to help fight infection processing and storage of Iron necessary for red blood cell Production manufacture of cholesterol and other chemicals require for fat transport conversion of waste products of body metabolism into urea that is excrete in urine Metabolizing medications into their active ingredient in body Cirrhosis is term that describe permanent scarring of Liver. In Cirrhosis, normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue that cannot perform any liver function. Acute Liver failure may or may not be reversible, meaning that on occasion, there is a treatable cause and the liver may be able to recover and resume its normal functions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

What causes liver disease?

The human liver is a wondrous organ. Each day it makes bile, converts nutrients from your diet, cleans toxins from your blood, breaks down fats, alcohol and medications, controls blood sugar and hormone levels, stores iron and much more. Dr. Saleh Alqahtani, director of clinical liver research for Johns Hopkins Medicine, notes that you should wait for symptoms to appear to begin paying attention to the possibility of liver disease. You dont want to turn yellow with jaundice or feel pain in your upper right abdomen because those are signs your liver is already very sick, say Dr. Alqahtani. It is far better to stop liver disease before it gets too serious. Here are the top five risk factors for developing liver disease.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

How are they treated?

Many liver diseases are chronic, meaning they last for years and may never go away. But even chronic liver diseases can usually be manage. For some people, lifestyle changes are enough to keep symptoms at bay. These might include: limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking more water, adopting a liver - friendly diet that includes plenty of fiber while reducing fat, sugar, and salt depending on the specific liver condition you have,. Your healthcare provider may recommend other dietary changes. For example, people living with Wilsons disease should limit foods containing copper, including shellfish, mushrooms, and nuts. Depending on the condition affecting your liver, you may also need medical treatment, such as: antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis, steroids to reduce liver inflammation, blood pressure medication, antibiotics, medications to target specific symptoms, such as itchy skin, vitamins and supplements to boost liver health In some cases, you may need surgery to remove all or part of your liver. Generally, liver transplant is only done when other options have fail.


Tests and procedures used to diagnose acute liver failure include: blood tests. Blood tests are done to determine how well your liver work. The prothrombin time test measures how long it takes your blood to clot. With acute liver failure, blood doesn't clot as quickly as it should. Imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound exam to look at your liver. Such testing may show liver damage and help your doctor determine the cause of your liver problems. Your doctor may also recommend abdominal computerized tomography scanning or magnetic resonance imaging to look at your liver and blood vessels. These tests can look for certain causes of acute liver failure, such as Budd - Chiari syndrome or tumors. They may be used if your doctor suspects a problem and ultrasound testing is negative. Examination of liver tissue. Your doctor may recommend removing a small piece of liver tissue. Doing so may help your doctor understand why your liver is failing. Since people with acute liver failure are at risk of bleeding during biopsy, doctor may perform transjugular liver biopsy. A doctor makes a tiny incision on the right side of your neck, and then passes a thin tube into your neck vein, through your heart and into the vein exiting your liver. Your doctor then inserts a needle through the catheter and retrieves a sample of liver tissue.


People with acute liver failure are often treated in the intensive care unit of hospital in a facility that can perform liver transplant, if necessary. Your doctor may try to treat liver damage itself, but in many cases, treatment involves controlling complications and giving your liver time to heal. Medications to reverse poisoning. Acute liver failure caused by acetaminophen overdose is treated with medication called acetylcysteine. This medication may also help treat other causes of acute liver failure. Mushroom and other poisonings can also be treated with drugs that can reverse the effects of toxin and may reduce liver damage. Liver transplant. When acute liver failure can't be reverse, only treatment may be liver transplant. During liver transplant, surgeon removes your damaged liver and replaces it with healthy liver from the donor. Your doctor also works to control signs and symptoms you are experiencing and try to prevent complications caused by acute liver failure. Your care may include: relieving pressure caused by excess fluid in the brain. Cerebral edema caused by acute liver failure can increase pressure on your brain. Medications can help reduce fluid buildup in your brain. Screening for infections. Your medical team will take samples of your blood and urine every now and then to be tested for infection. If your doctor suspects that you have an infection, you 'll receive medications to treat the infection. Preventing severe bleeding. Your doctor can give you medications to reduce the risk of bleeding. If you lose a lot of blood, your doctor may perform tests to find the source of blood loss. You may require blood transfusions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Stages of liver failure

Common Causes of Cirrhosis

Alcohol-related liver disease.Most people who consume alcohol do not suffer damage to the liver. But heavy alcohol use over several years can cause chronic injury to the liver. The amount of alcohol it takes to damage the liver varies greatly from person to person. For women, consuming two to three drinks-including beer and wine-per day and for men, three to four drinks per day, can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis. In the past, alcohol-related cirrhosis led to more deaths than cirrhosis due to any other cause. Deaths caused by obesity-related cirrhosis are increasing.
Chronic hepatitis CThe hepatitis C virus is a liver infection that is spread by contact with an infected person's blood. Chronic hepatitis C causes inflammation and damage to the liver over time that can lead to cirrhosis.
Chronic hepatitis B and DThe hepatitis B virus is a liver infection that is spread by contact with an infected person's blood, semen, or other body fluid. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that can lead to cirrhosis. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to all infants and many adults to prevent the virus. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, but it occurs only in people who already have hepatitis B.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)In NAFLD, fat builds up in the liver and eventually causes cirrhosis. This increasingly common liver disease is associated with obesity, diabetes, protein malnutrition, coronary artery disease, and corticosteroid medications.
Autoimmune hepatitisThis form of hepatitis is caused by the body's immune system attacking liver cells and causing inflammation, damage, and eventually cirrhosis. Researchers believe genetic factors may make some people more prone to autoimmune diseases. About 70 percent of those with autoimmune hepatitis are female.
Diseases that damage or destroy bile ductsSeveral diseases can damage or destroy the ducts that carry bile from the liver, causing bile to back up in the liver and leading to cirrhosis. In adults, the most common condition in this category is primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease in which the bile ducts become inflamed and damaged and, ultimately, disappear. Secondary biliary cirrhosis can happen if the ducts are mistakenly tied off or injured during gallbladder surgery. Primary sclerosing cholangitis is another condition that causes damage and scarring of bile ducts. In infants, damaged bile ducts are commonly caused by Alagille syndrome or biliary atresia, conditions in which the ducts are absent or injured.
Inherited diseasesCystic fibrosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases are inherited diseases that interfere with how the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances the body needs to function properly. Cirrhosis can result from these conditions.
Drugs, toxins, and infectionsOther causes of cirrhosis include drug reactions, prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, parasitic infections, and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion.

In this early stage, liver is enlarge or inflame. Fibrosis. Scar tissue begins to replace healthy tissue in the inflamed liver. Cirrhosis. Severe scarring has built up, making it difficult for the liver to function properly. End - stage liver disease. Liver function has deteriorated to point where damage ca be reversed other than with liver transplant. Liver cancer. Development and multiplication of unhealthy cells in the liver can occur at any stage of liver failure, although people with cirrhosis are more at risk. Damage from liver disease can accrue in several stages, which increasingly affect your liver's ability to function.

What causes cirrhosis?

Cryptogenic cirrhosis is a common reason for liver transplantation. It is term called cryptogenic cirrhosis because for many years doctors have been unable to explain why a proportion of patients developed cirrhosis. Doctors now believe that cryptogenic cirrhosis is due to NASH caused by long standing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. Fat in the liver of patients with NASH is believed to disappear with the onset of cirrhosis, and this has made it difficult for doctors to make a connection between NASH and cryptogenic cirrhosis for a long time. One important clue that NASH leads to cryptogenic cirrhosis is the finding of high occurrence of NASH in new livers of patients undergoing liver transplant for cryptogenic cirrhosis. Finally, study from France suggest that patients with NASH have a similar risk of developing cirrhosis as patients with long standing infection with hepatitis C virus. However, progression to cirrhosis from NASH is thought to be slow and diagnosis of cirrhosis typically is made in people in their sixties.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Symptoms, Treatment, Life Expectancy)

Alpha - 1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited disorder caused by mutations in S ERPINA1 gene. People with the condition are at risk of developing serious lung and liver disease. Symptoms and signs of lung disease caused by this condition include: earliest symptoms and signs of lung disease usually develop between 20 and 50 years of age, and are wheezing reduce ability to exercise Shortness of breath following mild activity fatigue Rapid heartbeat when going from sitting to standing Recurring respiratory infections Unintentional weight loss lung disease: People with this condition often develop emphysema, with symptoms of hacking cough, barrel - shaped chest, and difficulty breathing. If you have this condition and smoke or are exposed to tobacco smoke, it accelerate appearance of emphysema symptoms and lung damage. Liver disease: Alpha - 1 antitrypsin deficiency also causes liver disease in some people with condition, that include liver cancer, cirrhosis of liver, abnormally large liver, liver failure, and hepatitis. Liver damage from Alpha - 1 antitrypsin deficiency causes symptoms of swollen abdomen, swollen legs or feet, and jaundice. Treatment of AATD depends upon the severity of symptoms. The FDA approved drug for AATD is an orphan product called Alpha - 1proteinase inhibitor, sold under the brand name prolastin.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.


Edema and ascitesWhen liver damage progresses to an advanced stage, fluid collects in the legs, called edema, and in the abdomen, called ascites. Ascites can lead to bacterial peritonitis, a serious infection.
Bruising and bleedingWhen the liver slows or stops producing the proteins needed for blood clotting, a person will bruise or bleed easily.
Portal hypertensionNormally, blood from the intestines and spleen is carried to the liver through the portal vein. But cirrhosis slows the normal flow of blood, which increases the pressure in the portal vein. This condition is called portal hypertension.
Esophageal varices and gastropathyWhen portal hypertension occurs, it may cause enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus, called varices, or in the stomach, called gastropathy, or both. Enlarged blood vessels are more likely to burst due to thin walls and increased pressure. If they burst, serious bleeding can occur in the esophagus or upper stomach, requiring immediate medical attention.
SplenomegalyWhen portal hypertension occurs, the spleen frequently enlarges and holds white blood cells and platelets, reducing the numbers of these cells in the blood. A low platelet count may be the first evidence that a person has developed cirrhosis.
JaundiceJaundice occurs when the diseased liver does not remove enough bilirubin from the blood, causing yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes and darkening of the urine. Bilirubin is the pigment that gives bile its reddish-yellow color.
GallstonesIf cirrhosis prevents bile from flowing freely to and from the gallbladder, the bile hardens as gallstones.
Sensitivity to medicationsCirrhosis slows the liver's ability to filter medications from the blood. When this occurs, medications act longer than expected and build up in the body. This causes a person to be more sensitive to medications and their side effects.
Hepatic encephalopathyA failing liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, and they eventually accumulate in the brain. The buildup of toxins in the brain-called hepatic encephalopathy-can decrease mental function and cause coma. Signs of decreased mental function include confusion, personality changes, memory loss, trouble concentrating, and a change in sleep habits.
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetesCirrhosis causes resistance to insulin-a hormone produced by the pancreas that enables the body to use glucose as energy. With insulin resistance, the body's muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. The pancreas tries to keep up with the demand for insulin by producing more, but excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream causing type 2 diabetes.
Liver cancerHepatocellular carcinoma is a type of liver cancer that can occur in people with cirrhosis. Hepatocellular carcinoma has a high mortality rate, but several treatment options are available.
Other problemsCirrhosis can cause immune system dysfunction, leading to the risk of infection. Cirrhosis can also cause kidney and lung failure, known as hepatorenal and hepatopulmonary syndromes.


Bleeding VaricesInternal bleeding from large blood vessels in the esophagus
AscitesA buildup of fluid in the belly. (pronounced "a-sigh-tees")
EncephalopathyConfusion from the buildup of toxins in the blood. (pronounced "en-sef-a-lop-a-thee")
JaundiceYellowing of the eyes and skin
* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions


This TOOL does not PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general information purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional MEDICAL ADVICE, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional MEDICAL ADVICE in seeking treatment because of something you have read on WebMD Site. If you think you may have a MEDICAL emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. You can never restore parts of your liver that have turned into scar tissue. But you can live a healthy life with the remaining portion if disease is caught in time. However, there is a point of no return with Cirrhosis. As more cells are replaced by scar tissue, fewer healthy cells are left to handle the liver's many tasks. This is why it's important to identify underlying causes as soon as possible and begin taking steps to eliminate them.

Understanding cirrhosis

In the early stages of condition, often there are no symptoms. You can get by with a reduced number of working liver cells. However, as more and more liver cells die and more and more scar tissue builds up, liver: fails to make enough proteins such as albumin that help to regulate fluid composition in the bloodstream and body. Fail to make enough chemicals needed for blood clotting. It is less able to process waste chemicals in the body, such as bilirubin. So, these may build up in the body. It is less able to process medicines, toxins and other chemicals which may then build up in the body. Tiredness and weakness. Fluid which leaks from the bloodstream and builds up in legs and tummy - called ascites. Loss of appetite, feeling sick and being sick. Weight loss. Tendency to bleed and bruise more easily. Yellowing of skin or of whites of eyes due to build - up of bilirubin. Itch due to build - up of toxins. Mental health changes can develop in severe cases as toxins build up in the bloodstream and affect the brain. This can cause changes to your personality and behaviour, confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Eventually, it can lead to loss of consciousness and hepatic coma. These changes are known as hepatic encephalopathy. Also, scar tissue restricts the flow of blood through the liver. As cirrhosis becomes worse, this causes back pressure in portal vein. Portal vein is a vein that takes blood from the gut to the liver - it contains digested foods. Increased pressure in this vein can cause swellings to develop in branches of vein in lining of the gullet and stomach. These varices have a tendency to bleed easily into gut. If bleeding occurs, you may vomit blood or pass blood with your stools.

How is life expectancy determined?

The MELD system helps to determine risk of death in people with end - stage liver disease. It uses values from laboratory tests to create MELD score. Measurements used to get MELD score include bilirubin, serum sodium, and serum creatinine. Meld score helps to determine the three - month mortality rate. This refers to someone's likelihood of dying within three months. While this helps to give doctors a better idea of someone's life expectancy, it also helps to prioritize those waiting for liver transplant. For someone with cirrhosis, liver transplant can add years to their life expectancy. The higher someone's MELD score is, more likely they are to die within three months. This can move them higher up the list of those waiting for liver transplant.

Can fatty liver disease be reversed?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease refers to a wide spectrum of liver diseases that, like alcoholic liver disease, ranging from simple steatosis, to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, to cirrhosis. All stages of NAFLD have in common accumulation of fat in liver cells. The term nonalcoholic is used because NAFLD occurs in individuals who do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol, yet in many respects, the microscopic picture of NAFLD is similar to what can be seen in liver disease that is due to excessive alcohol. Nafld is associated with a condition called insulin resistance, which, in turn, is associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus type 2. Obesity is the main cause of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Nafld is the most common liver disease in the United States and is responsible for up to 25% of all liver disease. Number of liver transplants for NAFLD - related cirrhosis is on the rise. Public health officials are worried that the current epidemic of obesity will dramatically increase the development of NAFLD and cirrhosis in the population.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

Symptoms & Causes of Cirrhosis

You may have no signs or symptoms of cirrhosis until your liver is badly damaged Feeling tired or weak, poor appetite, losing weight without trying, nausea and vomiting, mild pain or discomfort in the upper right side of your abdomen as liver function gets worse, you may have other symptoms, including bruising and bleeding easily, confusion, difficulties thinking, memory loss, personality changes, or sleep disorders, swelling in your lower legs, ankles, or feet, call edema bloating from buildup of fluid in your abdomen, call ascites severe itchy skin darkening of color of your urine yellowish tint to whites of your eyes and skin, call jaundice

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions


Your liver performs many vital jobs. Among other things, it removes toxins from your blood and stores vitamins, minerals, and fuel necessary to survive. Unfortunately, liver is vulnerable to damage. Here is what you should know to keep your liver healthy and prevent disease. Your liver is a large and complex organ. It is responsible for breaking down and eliminating naturally occurring toxins as well as many types of medications. It also acts as a chemical factory, producing bile, clotting factors, other proteins in the blood, as well as cholesterol and various forms of fats. The Another major function of the liver is to store and release carbohydrates. Just performing its duties makes your liver vulnerable to injury. For instance, deactivating potentially harmful drugs and medications is a hazardous job. Drug breakdown can damage liver cells and result in acute or chronic liver disease. Preventable factors that may damage your liver include alcohol and drug abuse, medications, infections, and certain health conditions. The most common causes of liver disease are: viral Hepatitis, Alcohol Use disorder, Obesity Medications and supplements Hemochromatosis Sometimes liver damage is acute and potentially reversible. Other times it is chronic and irreversible. Common signs of acute liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and abdominal pain plus abnormal liver blood tests. When damage becomes progressive and irreversible, it may lead to chronic liver disease. Permanent loss of liver function can result from complications called cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. In severe cases, liver transplant may be required to sustain life. Other problems that are associated with chronic liver disease include fluid build - up in the abdomen, trouble thinking clearly, gastrointestinal bleeding, bleeding disorders, and a greatly increased risk of liver cancer. Since chronic liver disease cannot be cure, prevention is key. Here are some tips to help you reduce your risk of developing liver disease for each of the most common causes. Several contagious viruses can cause inflammation of the liver: Hepatitis and E are spread through contaminated food and water or by person - to - person contact. Infections usually do not progress to chronic Hepatitis. Preventive measures include: Get Hepatitis vaccine if you are at high risk for Hepatitis. Wash your hands with soap and water. This is very important after using the bathroom or changing diaper. Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food. Avoid using household utensils that person with Hepatitis may touch. Make sure all household utensils are carefully clean. Avoid sexual contact with people with Hepatitis A. If you travel to high risk region, take the following precautions: Drink bottled water. Avoid ice chips. Wash fruits well. Eat well - cooked food. At least one month before travel, ask your doctor if you need a Hepatitis vaccine or immune globulin shot. Hepatitis B, C, and D are transmitted through exposure to infected blood, sexual contact, childbirth, or affecting family members. Infections can progress to chronic Hepatitis.


* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions


* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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