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Liver diseases may constitute any hepatic dysfunction, which may cause a health problem. The liver is responsible for many important functions in the body, and it takes part in the production of proteins, blood coagulation or iron metabolism. In the case of liver disease or injury, can occur a lot of damage throughout the body.
The liver is the only organ that can easily replace damaged cells, but if it gets affected the disease, and it is not able to keep up with the repair of damage, then it may turn out that it may not be able to satisfy all the needs of the body.
Among the most important functions of the liver include:
- bile acid production required in metabolizing fats,
- storage of inventories of glucose and sugar, in the form of glycogen, and use them when the body needs it,
- production of blood clotting factors,
- amino acid production and assistance to fight infections,
- processing and storage of iron necessary for the production of red blood cells,
- production of cholesterol and other substances required for the transport of fat,
- conversion of metabolic waste to urea, which is then excreted in the urine,
- metabolization of drugs to the active substance in the body.
The causes of liver disease
- while the cells develop, inflammation – as in hepatitis,
- when there is an impediment to the flow of bile – as in cholestasis,
- occurs while the accumulation of cholesterol – as hepatic steatosis,
- when blood flow to the liver is threatened;
- while the liver tissue is damaged by chemicals, minerals, and infiltration of abnormal cells, such as tumor cells.
Liver diseases can appear as a result of:
- abuse of alcohol, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, drugs, etc.,
- contact with the virus,
- conducting unhealthy lifestyle, in particular about diet,
- of genetics to particular types of liver,
- failure of some organs.
Some liver diseases, especially those related to lifestyle, can be effectively prevented (as hepatitis B), others are independent of us, as may occur as a result of inheritance.
The symptoms of liver diseases
Among the main symptoms of liver diseases, it is worth mentioning:
- nausea and vomiting,
- pain in the upper right abdomen,
- fatigue, weakness and weight loss.
Depending on the type of disease, there are many others, a great variety of symptoms, signs which are specific to particular disorders and its stages.
For example, the symptoms of liver diseases characteristic of specific disorders can be mentioned:
- in people with gallstones – abdominal pain and vomiting after eating a fatty meal, and in the case of infection of the gallbladder, may appear fever;
- Gilbert’s disease have no symptoms, and you can discover it only through a blood test for levels of bilirubin – a disease shows its elevated level;
- cirrhosis of the liver revealed problems with the metabolism of metabolic products;
- Other conditions may affect the blood clotting problems, fluctuations of sex hormones, sexual dysfunction, lethargy, muscle wasting, high blood pressure, and the like.
Diagnosis and treatment of liver diseases
Blood tests are useful in assessing the potential inflammation and liver function. Most important tests are ALT and AST, GGT and alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, protein and albumin, and morphology, coagulation, lipases, electrolytes, and the like.
Other tests include:
- CT (computed axial tomography);
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging);
- liver biopsy.
Liver diseases have a different treatment regimen, depending on their type. This may include:
- surgery – e.g.,. the removal of gallstones,
- a proper diet supplementing missing nutrients or excludes certain substances from food,
- pharmacological treatment,
- removing the excess treatment liquid ascites
- in extreme cases, may be required a liver transplant.
Liver diseases can have different complications, and if left untreated, can endanger the health and life, so if there are serious symptoms, you should consult your doctor.