Symptoms and Causes of Liver Disease

Liver is a huge organ (weighs approximately 1500 grams) and essential for digestion of foods and getting rid of toxic substances by various ways such as combining the toxic substance with chemical produced by liver to facilitate its removal and making it less toxic by\ conjugation etc. Liver problems/diseases can be inherited (less common) or may be due to infection by various hepatitis viruses or by chronic alcohol use/abuse. As the liver disease progresses, there may be permanent scarring of liver known as cirrhosis and liver failure may ensue, which is a life threatening problem.

Symptoms and signs of liver disease include,

  • Swelling in abdomen and pain in abdomen (especially on the right side of abdomen)
  • Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of eyes and skin due to presence of bilirubin in blood)
  • Swelling in ankles and legs
  • Skin becomes itchy
  • Urine is dark in color (may be yellowish to pink to red in color) due to presence of bilirubin in urine
  • Color of stool may be pale, tar colored or bloody
  • Chronic generalized weakness or fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss or weight gain (due accumulation of water in the peritoneal cavity called ascites)
  • Skin bruises easily

If any of these symptoms singly or in combination bothers you; consult your doctor immedia

tely. Because it may be a liver problem and need immediate medical intervention.

What are the causes of liver disease?

The causes of liver problem/disease include,

  • Infection: viruses and parasites can infect liver and cause liver disease. Various viruses that infect liver and cause liver problem include, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, hepatitis E etc. These viruses can infect liver via contaminated food, water or via infected blood products. Infection of liver by these viruses lead in inflammation of liver cells and disturbance of functioning of liver.
  • Immune system disturbance: various immune related problems such as autoimmune diseases can cause hepatitis such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis etc.
  • Genetical problem: genetic problems can lead to liver problem/disease, such as hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease (hepatolenticular degeneration), hyperoxaluria etc.
  • Cancer and other tumors: liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), bile duct cancer, liver adenoma etc. Can also cause liver problem
  • Other causes: chronic alcohol consumption (chronic alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of liver problem throughout the world), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease etc. In fact, these are very common causes of liver problem/disease.


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