Liver Disease

Liver disease, also known as hepatic disease, refers to any disorder of the liver that causes illness. Because the liver performs many necessary functions for the body, liver disease can be extremely detrimental to a person’s well-being and life. Liver disease can lead to liver failure and liver cancer, which occur when at least 75 percent of the liver becomes damaged and cannot be repaired.

Liver Disease Symptoms

There are a variety of illnesses that can affect the liver. Symptoms of liver disease are often associated with the illness until liver disease and liver failure occurs.

A person with gallstones may experience abdominal pain and vomiting after eating fatty foods. Gilbert’s disease, a condition associated with liver disease, does not have symptoms. Individuals with cirrhosis will develop symptoms as the liver fails.

General symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Bruising
  • Fatigue, weakness and weight loss

Liver Disease Treatment

Since there are several illnesses that can affect the liver, each disease will need a specific treatment. Treatments range from rest and fluids, such as for hepatitis A, to invasive surgery, such as for gallbladder removal and liver transplant.

Except for the removal of gallstones and for some infections, such as hepatitis A, most liver diseases cannot be cured and are only managed.

Liver Disease Prevention

Not all forms of liver disease can be prevented, especially if a person has inherited risk factors. For example, fatty liver disease can be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet and performing regular exercise, but people who have inherited risk factors might develop the disease anyway.

To prevent liver disease, in general, it is recommended that alcohol is consumed in moderation or not at all. The risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, which lead to liver disease, can be prevented by avoiding contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and B are also available.

Liver Disease Resources

More information on liver disease

  • MedicineNet
  • MayoClinic
  • WebMD