Risk Factors and Diagnosis of Liver Problems

Various factors may increase risk of liver problems. Factors that increase risk of hepatitis B virus transmission also increase risk of liver problems,

  • Chronic alcohol use/abuse. Alcoholics have high rate of liver problems
  • Intravenous drug use by sharing needles
  • Exposure to other peoples body fluids and blood
  • Unprotected sexual act
  • Piercing of body parts and tattoos
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to various chemicals that are toxic to liver
  • High triglycerides in blood also increase risk of liver disease

Diagnosis of liver problem:

It is very important to find out the cause of liver damage and extent of liver damage due to liver disease, which are essential for management of liver problem. Your doctor will take a detailed history and a thorough physical examination and ask for various tests before coming to conclusion/diagnosis. These tests include,

  • Blood tests: your doctor will ask for a group of tests known as liver function tests. These tests include many tests such as bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT, serum protein (total protein as well as albumin and globulin and also their ratio) alkaline phosphatase, and some other tests. Your doctor may also ask for blood lipid profile tests (this test include, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, VLDL etc.) as well as test to find out if liver disease is due to genetic problem.
  • Imaging: your doctor may ask various imaging tests for liver such as ultrasound examination, CT scan and MRI.
  • Biopsy: your doctor may ask for tissue analysis of liver tissue. Liver biopsy may help in diagnosis of liver disease, especially liver cancer. For taking samples of liver tissue, usually a long needle is inserted into the liver and tissue extracted for examination in a lab, under microscope.

 

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