liver disease

Liver Disease

A Brief Overview Of Diseases That Cause The Liver to Malfunction

Liver disease is also known as hepatic disease, is the name given to any disease associated with the liver that causes the natural functioning of the liver to deteriorate.

When everything is functioning properly, we don’t give our liver healh a second thought but when something goes wrong, the side-effects can be numerous.

The liver is responsible for processing and eliminating toxins from our bodies, so it's important to keep it functioning properly.

There is so much that is said about detoxifying the body and cleansing the body system. But the amazing thing about a liver is that we have an inbuilt filtration system.

Your liver is an amazing organ, in fact, along with your skin it is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate. Because of its detoxing function it can takes quite a beating. It is one of the more robust organs of the body with the amount of chemicals that it has to deal with on a daily basis. Like the skin however, excess damage to the liver can cause scaring, which in medical terms is called cirrhosis.

The liver is one of the more important organs of the body. If you were looking at just its size, you would see that it is the largest organ in the body. It is also called a gland as it is the producer of bile which is stored in the gallbladder.

There are over 500 functions that the liver performs and these are worthy of textbook explanations. But it’s easy to see that any disease of the liver could cause some drastic side-effects if just say 10 of those functions ceased to happen.

In Western societies the occurrence of hepatic diseases has increased, mainly due to unhealthy eating habits (processed foods, chemical additives) and excessive alcohol consumption. Part of the liver’s major function is the central processing point for all alcohol, in fact, all toxins that enter the body .

Some Common Liver Diseases:

These are very brief summaries of some common diseases that affect the liver.

  • Viral hepatitis A, B, C, D, E: This is an inflammation of the liver. Normally caused by a virus. Can also be caused by poison or continuous and excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver: This is a condition where the liver by either consistent poisoning, infection or some related disease leaves scar tissue on the liver. Think of someone who has been severely burnt and you’ll get the picture.
  • Non alcoholic fatty liver disease: Normally associated with obesity and as you can well imagine large amounts of fat surrounding the liver.
  • Cancer of the liver - Cancer of the liver, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is a type of malignant tumor that affects the cells in the liver. It is a relatively rare form of cancer with an estimated 0.4% prevalence rate worldwide and usually occurs more frequently in people over age 50 who have underlying conditions such as hepatitis B or C virus infections, cirrhosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or prolonged exposure to hazardous substances like smoking or alcohol use.The exact cause of HCC is still unknown; however, several factors that may increase one's risk include having chronic hepatitis B or C virus infections, cirrhosis, high iron levels in the blood (hemochromatosis), obesity and diabetes. Other risk factors include: being male (males are twice as likely to develop HCC compared to females); long-term consumption of alcohol; tobacco use; certain inherited metabolic diseases; and medications containing estrogen or progesterone hormones.Symptoms often do not occur until later stages when tumors become larger and can include jaundice (yellowing of the skin), abdominal pain or swelling, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss. A diagnosis should always be confirmed via imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scans and MRI’s along with blood tests for elevated bilirubin (a yellow pigment found in bile).Treatments for HCC vary depending on how far it has progressed but typically involve surgery, chemotherapy/radiation therapy or other targeted therapies like sorafenib (which targets certain enzymes needed for cancer growth) or immunotherapy drugs that help boost the immune system’s ability to fight off cancer cells. Liver transplantation may also be recommended if HCC hasn't spread too far beyond its original location.To reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer, it's important to practice healthy habits such as avoiding alcohol consumption, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight along with getting vaccinated against hepatitis B virus if you haven't already been exposed to it – since this can prevent up to 90% cases from developing into HCC!

Effects of Alcohol on the Liver

Consuming large amounts alcohol continuously, by that I mean if you are a man and you consume more than 50 units of alcohol a week, a woman 35 units a week, puts yourself at risk. The affects over the long term could be that you suffer from alcohol liver disease. Conditions related to this are fatty liver syndrome or cirrhosis of the liver due to continued drinking.

Your body is one large system made up of many smaller systems that all work together. We speak about this a lot on Detox For Life. When one system is not functioning correctly, the symptoms of that illness could be indicators of others diseases. Seldom does anybody actually wake up in the morning and think ‘I have a liver disease', its a gradual deterioration of health. If you detect hepatic disease in it's early stages and take action to have it properly treated, it does not necessarily mean you will have long term damage provided you don't repeat the actions that caused you liver disease in the first place.

There are other liver diseases that are also quite severe but not covered in this brief article.

We have put together a list of liver diseases and symptoms that you may look at, but we by no means recommend self-diagnosis over the internet. If you suspect that you may have something more severe then consulting a medical doctor and getting expert advice is your best course of action. Find someone who understands what you suspect may be the problem. A good specialist will ask the right questions to help you make the best decision.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.