Liver is the largest and heaviest of all internal organs, and it is important for filtering out toxins from the body. A number of conditions can be related to the liver, while liver diseases can be inherited, as well. Extensive damage to the liver can lead to cirrhosis or scarring, which can cause the liver to fail. In this post, we will do a quick overview of common liver problems, symptoms and causes.
Signs and symptoms
The foremost sign of liver damage is jaundice – a condition that causes the eyes and skin to appear yellowish in color. Natural breakdown of red blood cells produces a by-product called Bilirubin, which is then metabolized and excreted by the liver through bile. In case the liver doesn’t function normally, or there’s a hindrance to this process, it can cause jaundice. One of the other common signs is abdominal pain and swelling, and some people cam have swelling in the legs, as well. Change in urine color, pale stool, constant fatigue and itchy skin are some of the other symptoms. Patients with liver problems often have a loss of appetite with weight loss.
Should I see a doctor?
It is important to see a liver specialist if you have any of the symptoms that are mentioned above for more than a few days. Abdominal pain that refuses to subside or makes you to go bed should be taken seriously. Keep in mind that liver conditions are best treated at early stage, so don’t delay in seeking medical help.
What are the causes?
A number of viruses and parasites can affect the liver, causing inflammation and other conditions. Most of the common liver conditions can be contributed to hepatitis viruses, such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Conditions that impact the immune system can also impact the liver. There are a few known autoimmune liver diseases, which include primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis. Autoimmune hepatitis is also one of these. Much like other organ conditions, some of the liver diseases can be acquired from genetics. Examples include Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Hyperoxaluria and oxalosis, and Wilson’s disease, besides hemochromatosis.
Cancer is one of the known causes of liver disease. Besides liver cancer, which affects the organ directly, one can suffer from bile duct cancer, as well. Chronic alcohol abuse is a known cause of liver damage, while some patients can also have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.