Introduction

The liver is an organ situated under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. It plays an essential role in digesting food and getting rid of harmful toxic substances from the body. Liver disease can either inherit from genetic factors or caused by various other factors that damage the liver like excessive alcohol use or exposure to viruses. Obesity is also related to liver damage. Over the period, extensive damage to the liver results in scarring or cirrhosis which is a severe condition. It can lead to liver failure, a critical and life-threatening disease.

Symptoms

There are various symptoms and signs of liver disease to look out for:-

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Skin and eyes appear to be in yellowish or jaundice
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine color
  • Swelling endured in the legs and ankles
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Pale stool color or bloody and tar-colored stool
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • The tendency to bruise easily

Causes

Liver disease can be sourced from many factors such as:-

  1. Infection

Viruses or parasites can infiltrate the liver and cause inflammation which reduces the efficient functionality of the organ. The viruses that cause such liver damage can be spread through blood, semen, contaminated food or water or upon proximity to an infected person. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of liver infection. They include:-

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

  1. Immune system abnormality

When the immune system attacks specific parts of the body, it is known as autoimmune. Examples of such autoimmune liver diseases consist of:-

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  1. Genetics

When an abnormal gene is inherited from one or both of the parents, it can lead to various substances to build up in the liver, resulting in extensive liver damage. Genetic liver diseases include:-

  • Wilson’s disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Hyperoxaluria and oxalosis
  1. Cancer and growths

They include:-

  • Liver cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Liver adenoma
  1. Other causes

Other common causes include:-

Prevention

  • Drink alcohol in moderate consideration
  • Avoid risky behaviors such as indulging in illicit intravenous drugs involving needles, having unprotected sex and tattoos or piercings.
  • Get vaccinated against the risk of contracting hepatitis
  • Use medications wisely by taking prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs only in recommended doses.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s blood and bodily fluids
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Protect your skin when dealing with harmful chemicals
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