Liver disease is a general term that refers to any condition affecting your liver.
These conditions may develop for different reasons, but they can all damage your liver and impact its function.
the liver is an important organ that performs hundreds of tasks related to metabolism, energy storage, and detoxification of waste.
It helps you digest food, convert it to energy, and store the energy until you need it. It also helps filter toxic substances out of your bloodstream.
Liver disease is a general term that refers to any condition affecting your liver. These conditions may develop for different reasons, but they can all damage your liver and impact its function.
Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver.
Liver disease symptoms vary, depending on the underlying cause.
However, there are some general symptoms that may indicate some kind of liver disease.
- yellow skin and eyes, known as jaundice
- dark urine
- pale, bloody, or black stool
- swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen
- decreased appetite
- ongoing fatigue
- itchy skin
- easy bruising
Many conditions can affect your liver. Here’s a look at some of the main ones.
Hepatitis is a viral infection of your liver. thus, It causes inflammation and liver damage, making it difficult for your liver to function as it should.
All types of hepatitis are contagious, but you can reduce your risk by getting vaccinated for types A and B or taking other preventive steps,
including practicing safe sex and not sharing needles.
There are five types of hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A is typically spread through contact with contaminated food or water. Symptoms may clear up without treatment, but recovery can take a few weeks.
- Hepatitis B can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It’s spread through bodily fluids, such as blood and semen. While hepatitis B is treatable, there’s no cure for it. Early treatment is key to avoiding complications, so it’s best to get regular screenings if you’re at risk.
- Hepatitis C can also be acute or chronic. It’s often spread through contact with blood from someone with hepatitis C. While it often doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages, it can lead to permanent liver damage in its later stages.
- Hepatitis D is a serious form of hepatitis that only develops in people with hepatitis B — it can’t be contracted on its own. It can also be either acute or chronic.
- Hepatitis E is usually caused by drinking contaminated water. Generally, it clears up on its own within a few weeks without any lasting complications.
Cirrhosis refers to scarring that results from liver diseases and other causes of liver damage, such as alcohol use disorder.
Your liver can regenerate in response to damage, but this process usually results in the development of scar tissue.
Therefore, the more scar tissue that develops, the harder it is for your liver to function properly.
In its early stages, cirrhosis is often treatable by addressing the underlying cause. But left unmanaged, it can lead to other complications and become life-threatening.
Chronic liver failure typically happens when a significant part of your liver is damaged and can’t function properly.
Generally, liver failure related to liver disease and also cirrhosis happens slowly. You may not have any symptoms at first.
But over time, you might start to notice:
- fatigue and weakness
It’s a serious condition that requires ongoing management.
Acute liver failure, on the other hand, happens suddenly, often in response to an overdose or poisoning.
causes your body to store more iron than it needs. This iron remains in your organs, including your liver. This can lead to damage over a long period of time if not managed.
Liver cancers first develop in your liver. If cancer starts elsewhere in the body but spreads to the liver, it’s called secondary liver cancer.
Complications of other liver diseases, especially those that aren’t treated, may contribute to the development of liver cancer.
Factors that may increase your risk of liver disease include:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Injecting drugs using shared needles
- Tattoos or body piercings
- Blood transfusion before 1992
- Exposure to other people’s blood and body fluids
- Unprotected sex
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins
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