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Liver Disorders: Causes, Types, and How to Overcome It

Did you know that alcohol consumption causes 20% to 50% of liver damage? Your doctor may have just told you that you have liver failure. This means that your heart cannot filter blood and help support other organs properly. This can affect your entire body.

Liver disorders can significantly affect a person's general health condition. Viral infections, genetic factors, side effects of drugs, and an unhealthy lifestyle, are factors that can cause liver disorders.

The liver is the largest organ that humans have. This organ is located in the abdominal cavity, in the upper right part of the stomach, and is protected by the ribs and diaphragm. The liver plays a role in neutralizing toxins, protein synthesis, and blood clots. The liver also acts as an organ that produces bile for digestion.

Symptoms of Liver Disorders

Most liver disorders do not cause symptoms at an early stage. Often the symptoms appear when the liver has entered the advanced stages, or even when the condition of the liver has been severely damaged.




Yellowish skin and eyes are the most common signs of liver disorders. Other symptoms that can occur in liver disorders include skin itching, bruising, fatigue, dark urine, pale stools, swollen abdomen, and pain.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms, especially if symptoms that are felt do not go away for days. If ignored, liver disorders can become more severe.

Common Causes and Risk Factors for Liver Disorders

Liver disorders are caused by many factors, including the following:

  • Hepatitis virus infections, such as hepatitis A, B, and C viruses. The hepatitis A virus is transmitted through food and beverages contaminated with viral hepatitis. While hepatitis B and C spread through semen, blood, contact with people with hepatitis B and C.
  • Genetic disorders.
  • Cancer
  • Fat accumulation.
  • Immune system disorders.

Liver disorders are also triggered by illness, the environment, and an unhealthy lifestyle. The risk of a person suffering from liver disorders becomes higher if:

  • Using syringes for drugs alternately.
  • Using a piercing needle or a non-sterile tattoo needle.
  • Having unprotected sex or changing partners frequently.
  • Contact with blood or body fluids of hepatitis patients.
  • Taking excessive medication.
  • Have the habit of drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Long-term exposure to chemicals.
  • Obesity
  • Has diabetes.

Types of Liver Disorders

Various conditions and conditions can interfere with liver function. The types of liver disorders include:

Jaundice

This condition is actually a symptom of a liver disorder characterized by yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes. This is caused by the level of bilirubin (bile pigment) in the bloodstream that exceeds the normal range. The level of bilirubin is high due to cell abnormalities or inflammation of the liver.

Cholestasis

Cholestasis is a condition of obstruction of bile. Bile fluid is produced by the liver to help the digestive process. This blocked bile flow causes accumulation of bilirubin.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a condition of the formation of wounds or scar tissue in the liver that is chronic in nature. Damage to the liver that has cirrhosis cannot be repaired. This condition can cause liver failure. The habit of drinking alcoholic beverages, Hepatitis B and C virus infections are the most common causes of cirrhosis.

Hepatitis A

This disease is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. This virus causes inflammation of the liver. The method of transmission is through feces, water and contaminated food. Physical contact with patients through sex can also increase the risk of contracting hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection. This disease is caused by the Hepatitis B virus which is transmitted through blood, body fluids, or open wounds. Pregnant women who suffer from hepatitis B can also transmit it to the fetus in the womb. Infected hearts will experience wounds, liver failure, and even cancer if not treated immediately.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus can spread through blood. Hepatitis C causes the liver to swell. Chronic conditions of this viral infection make the liver experience cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Fatty liver

As the name implies, the characteristics of this disease are characterized by too much fat stored in the liver. As a result, the liver experiences inflammation which can develop into permanent scarring. In chronic conditions, the liver is at risk of developing cirrhosis and liver failure. Fatty liver can be triggered by consumption of liquor (alcoholic fatty liver), also by other causes (non-alcohoic fatty liver disease / NAFLD), such as diabetes and obesity.

Heart cancer

Liver cancer occurs when liver cells mutate so that it grows uncontrollably. In some cases, chronic infections due to the hepatitis B and C viruses cause liver cancer.

Apart from those mentioned above, some diseases caused by bacteria, toxins, and genetic disorders can also cause liver disorders.

What complications might occur due to liver disease?

There are many complications of liver disease. When your heart starts to fail, other organs become affected. Following are some of the complications of acute liver failure:

  • Cerebral edema: This is excessive fluid in the brain that can cause pressure in the brain and prevent the brain from getting oxygen.
  • Bleeding disorders: Because the liver is responsible for producing blood clotting factors, acute liver failure will cause uncontrolled bleeding, usually in the digestive tract.
  • Infection: You become more at risk for infection, especially respiratory and urinary tract infections
  • Kidney failure: If the liver fails, the kidneys will work harder and harder to manage the filtering of toxins in the body. This can be the next organ that fails.

Complications can be prevented by managing the risk and development of your condition. It is important to talk to your doctor to find ways to prevent this complication.

Liver Disorders Treatment

Treatment of liver disorders depends on the type of disease. Some liver disorders can be overcome by changing lifestyle, such as stopping consuming alcoholic beverages, losing weight, and applying clean and healthy lifestyle habits.

Consumption of antiviral drugs is needed if liver disorders are caused by a viral infection. But if you have cirrhosis, the damaged liver cannot be cured. Treatment efforts can still be done by monitoring the course of the disease and reducing the risk of complications.

Treatment for patients with chronic liver failure is done by surgery to save the functioning part of the liver. If it turns out that this effort is not possible, a liver transplant is needed to save the lives of patients.

Liver disorders can be prevented by implementing a healthy lifestyle. In addition, avoid direct contact with blood or body fluids of hepatitis patients. Also make sure you and your family get hepatitis vaccination as an effective step to prevent this disease.

If you experience signs and symptoms related to liver disorders, you need to consult a doctor to get a complete examination and further treatment.





References

References

1. American Liver Foundation. Your Liver. Your Life

2. Stoppler, M. & Shiel, W. Emedicinehealth (2017). Liver Disease (Symptoms, Signs, Anatomy and Function).

3. Mayo Clinic (2018). Diseases & Conditions. Cirrhosis.


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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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