Liver disease is a deviation, anomaly or disturbance in the function of the liver.
The liver plays a critical roles in the body it is one of the most complex organs in the body with indispensable role. It also has the potential to regenerate parts of its lobules if a part is affected by diseases.
Before the liver can be regarded as nonfunctional, at least 75% of it must have been affected, by then liver disease symptoms begin to show up.
There are varying signs and symptoms of liver disease that manifest when the liver is affected either in part (as in the lobules) or severely.
One of such signs of liver disease is yellow discoloration of the skin due to elevated bilirubin level in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of liver disease
Liver disease symptoms vary based on the underlying disease, stage of deterioration, and which part of the liver is affected.
The liver may be diseased via many ways such as cancer, infections, liver cell death. Few of the diseases that can affect the liver’s function negatively are the following:
- Cirrhosis. This is hardening of the liver compartments and tissues due to liver cell death. This may also be caused by alcoholism. Cirrhosis leads to the scaring of the bile ducts thus leading to reduction in production of bile,as a result, you sense yellow watery stool. may also result from that.
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Biliary diseases
- Gall stones.
- Liver lymphoma.
- hepatocellular carcinoma and
Cholangiocarcinoma (both are carcinoma of the liver).
- Budd Chiari syndrome.
The following are symptoms of liver disease you may experience if part or any of the liver lobules,bile ducts is affected by diseases:
- Jaundice. This is caused by reduced bile production from the gall bladder either via gall stones or biliary diseases.
- Anemia. Reduction in the production of red blood cells from the liver.
- Blood clots may form within the portal vein thus leading to portal hypertension and eventual cell death.
- Confusion, lethargy and coma may result from hepatic encephalopathy.
- Occasional bleeding.
- Body itching may be caused by bile deposit under the skin.
- Fatigue and body weakness
- Muscle wasting due reduced protein in food nutrients.
- Breasts may be enlarged in men (gynecomastia) due to imbalance of sex hormones.
- Impotence due low sex drive and low libido.
- Upper abdominal pain from gall stones blocking the duct that carries bile to the site of fat emulsification.
- Decrease in cognitive functions
Those who have the following listed conditions and life style can easily have liver disease and eventually liver failure:
- Those who drinks alcohol.
- Cancer cells may spread from the lungs, heart and the esophagus into the liver.
- Overdose of drugs such as acetaminophen
- Smokers especially women who have high (beyond normal) levels of bile in their bloodstream. So also birth control pills may cause hepatic vein thrombosis.
- Those exposed to hepatitis B virus.
- Those expose to chemicals such as anabolic steroids and vinyl chloride.
From clinical investigations,the following may be noticed medical evaluations:
- Blood clots may be formed.
- Abnormal bleeding both internal and external.
- Increased level of bile in the bloodstream.
- The level of bilirubin concentration increases in the blood.
- Ascites or abdominal fluid.
In the management of liver diseases it is not enough to treat only the liver disease symptoms but the underlying cause. In cases of liver failure, liver transplantation is the only solution, however in mild or acute liver diseases, there are other means of treatment depending on diagnostic findings. Liver disease may be treated by surgical intervention, low sodium diets and water pills may be required in some instances, gall bladder stones may be removed surgically.
Your doctor will be in the best position to determine the best course of treatment for alleviating your liver disease symptoms.