Understanding the basics of liver diseases

Being the largest internal organ of the body, liver performs a number of important tasks. There are varied kinds of liver diseases, which can have different impact on its functions. Here’s what you must know about causes, symptoms and more. It is important to understand that the signs and symptoms of liver diseases are usually similar, and therefore, early diagnosis is necessary.

Common causes and types of liver diseases

Different viruses can cause inflammation of the liver, affecting its natural function. Most common are hepatitis viruses, which cause Hepatitis A, B, and C. Many autoimmune diseases can also affect the organs of the body, including the liver, and these include autoimmune hepatitis, Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). Genetic diseases, such as Hemochromatosis, Gierke’s Disease, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, Gilbert Syndrome and Galactosemia. There are also other possible causes of liver diseases, such as liver cysts, bile duct cancer, liver cancer, Cirrhosis, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

Signs and symptoms

Liver diseases may have common symptoms, and it is important to see a liver specialist as soon as these symptoms. The most typical of all is jaundice, which causes the eyes and skin to appear yellowish. There can be swelling in the ankles, legs and other parts of the body, besides abdominal pain. Patients may also have itchy skin, change in urine color, tar colored stool or blood in feces, nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite is also very common.

What are the risk factors?

People who restore to excessive alcohol use are more susceptible to liver conditions. Tattoos, piercings have also been included as risk factors. Exposure to blood and body fluids of other patients can also cause liver ailments. Unprotected sex can be a cause of hepatitis infections. Higher levels of triglycerides, obesity and diabetes are additional causes.

Visiting a doctor

If you have any of the signs and symptoms for more than a week, check with your doctor. In some cases, the symptoms can be occasional and must be checked for. Keep a check on the common signs of jaundice, which also includes fever. Medications and supplements can be a cause too, so your doctor may ask questions related to that. If you had a history of liver conditions, your doctor may ask about that, as well.

Check online now to find more on liver diseases and consult a known expert to find more on whether you need medical help.