Liver disease is a disease that interferes with liver function. The liver is an important organ that is under the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. This organ is responsible for digesting food and cleansing the body of toxins.
However, the liver can also be affected by disease or problems. For example, liver disease can be inherited genetically or caused by various external factors, such as viruses, alcohol use, and obesity.
The liver is the only organ in the body that can easily replace damaged cells. However, if there are too many damaged cells, the liver may not be able to meet the body’s needs.
Over time, conditions that damage the liver can lead to scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening situation. However, early treatment can give the liver time to heal.
Various things can cause liver disease, including:
- Viral infections. Until now, eight liver viruses are known, and the most virulent viruses are Hepatitis B (HVB) and Hepatitis C (HCV).
- Immune system problems. Liver disease can also be caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks the liver.
- Congenital disease. Some liver problems develop due to genetic conditions (which you inherit from your parents).
- Cancer. When abnormal cells develop in the liver, tumors can form. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (liver cancer).
- Consumption of too many toxic substances, such as alcohol.
Factors that can increase your risk of liver disease include:
- Heavy alcohol consumption.
- Overweight (obesity).
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Tattoos or body piercing.
- Injecting drugs using shared needles.
- Blood transfusion before 1992.
- Exposure to blood and body fluids from others.
- Sex without a condom.
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins.
- There is a family history of liver disease.
Some types of liver disease (including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) rarely cause symptoms. For other liver diseases, the most common symptoms are jaundice, yellowing of the skin, and the eyes’ whites. Jaundice develops because the liver cannot clear a substance called bilirubin.
Other symptoms of liver disease that can also appear, namely:
- Abdominal pain (especially on the right side).
- Easy bruising.
- Changes in the color of urine or stool.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Swelling in the arms or legs.
Treatment of the liver disease depends on the cause. Some liver diseases can be treated with lifestyle changes such as losing weight and quitting alcohol. At the same time, other liver diseases must be treated with drugs, surgery, or even a liver transplant.
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