Liver Disease Q & A
What is liver disease?
Your liver is an essential organ that rids your body of toxic substances and aids in digestion. Liver disease occurs when your liver isn’t working properly.
Liver disease may show up in various ways, including liver enlargement, a buildup of fluid in your abdomen, or jaundice, a yellowish discoloration of your skin and whites of your eyes. Left untreated, liver disease may lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
What are the symptoms of liver disease?
Liver disease may be easily overlooked in its early stages. Initially, you may lose your appetite, feel tired or unwell, and lose weight.
As liver disease progresses, other symptoms may appear, including:
- Dark-colored urine
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in your ankles and legs
- Itchy skin
- Unusual colored stool that’s pale, bloody, or tar-colored
- Vomiting or nausea
Another sign of liver disease is a tendency to bruise easily.
What causes liver disease?
Many factors can cause liver disease. The most common are:
- Infection from the hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses
- Autoimmune disorders, including hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease
- Genetic disorders
- Liver cancer or bile duct cancer
- Chronic alcohol use
Fat building up in the liver can also cause liver disease. This condition, called fatty liver, can be brought on by excess alcohol use and other causes.
How is liver disease diagnosed?
Your doctor at Capitol Gastro typically runs a series of tests to narrow down the source of your condition. Blood tests can assess the function of your liver and measure liver enzymes.
How is liver disease treated?
Your treatment depends on your diagnosis. For example, if hepatitis C is causing your liver disease, your doctor prescribes medications to treat the virus.
Your doctor generally recommends a treatment program that includes close monitoring of your liver function, along with lifestyle changes. Your doctor may advise you to lose weight or stop your alcohol use. Medications, or even surgery, might also be needed to help your condition.
If you’re worried about liver disease, the specialists at Capitol Gastro can evaluate and treat your condition. Call today.