The liver functions of metabolizing food proteins and breaking down fat are important in the human body. Many important causes of liver disorders are viral infections, fatty liver, hepatitis and alcohol. Liver diseases of various kinds include liver cirrhosis, the result of too much alcohol, can cause liver failure. Some of these liver diseases can lead to cancer.
Alcoholism is a disease that damages liver cells and frequently affects liver function. Alcohol increases bile production. The liver produces bile which is used to digest fat and other substances. Alcohol drinking increases the levels of toxins in the bloodstream which eventually affects liver cell health. It also damages cellular structures of the liver and shortens its life span.
Alcoholic hepatitis is one of many liver disorders caused by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Fatty liver is the first stage of alcoholic hepatitis. During the first stages, there is not sufficient bile produced. This can be overcome with the help of medicines like niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Once the condition gets severe, patients may need surgery. Chronic alcoholics develop cirrhosis of liver which causes obstruction of blood flow to the organ.
Hepatic diseases affecting liver disorders are hypercholesterolemia, fatty liver and viral hepatitis. A few of these conditions can develop into serious heart diseases such as fatty liver, congenital heart disease and congenital heart defects. There are also several bacterial diseases affecting heart. Several cardiac diseases are related to medications such as arterial hypertension, rheumatic fever, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease and heart attack.
Hepatitis B and cirrhosis affect millions of people worldwide. Both of them are chronic liver disorders caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The symptoms of hepatitis B include jaundice, weight loss, fever, abdominal pains, nausea and vomiting. On the other hand, patients who have developed cirrhosis of the liver experience severe pain, swelling, redness and bleeding and can eventually die if left untreated.
Hereditary factors are said to contribute in the development of liver failure through genetic disorders. Disorders in the liver function may result from inherited genetic disorders like hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, glycogen storage disease, beta-amyloidosis, genetic triglyceride accumulation, glycogen storage disease and congenital heart disease. Alcohol and cigarette consumption are common risk factors for developing liver failure which is evident from research findings.
Systemic liver disease is another cause for liver damage. Systemic liver diseases include hepatitis B, C and D, alcoholic fatty liver and non alcoholic fatty liver. Chronic liver disease can affect any organ in the body. Liver disorders that develop over a period of time weaken and destroy liver cells, resulting in liver failure, a condition known as cirrhosis of the liver.
Abnormal liver function or liver disease develops when the liver cannot process and eliminate the toxins in our blood, causing inflammation, enlargement and scarring of liver cells. There are many conditions and diseases that can affect the liver like alcohol abuse, hepatitis B and C, autoimmune diseases, cancer, HIV/AIDS, miscarriage, menopause, renal failure, vitiligo, and Wilson’s disease, among others. Blood testing can determine the liver damage caused due to various disorders and diseases and the resulting treatment accordingly.
Liver diseases are mainly classified into acute and chronic. Acute liver disease is caused by infection by microorganisms, usually viruses. Such infections are hepatitis A, B, C and D, pancreatitis, and varicella zoster virus.
Hepatitis A virus is the most common cause of acute liver failure. In such cases, medicines are given intravenously to prevent damage to other important organs. Chronic infection by hepatitis B and C can result in Crohn’s disease (intestinal bleeding) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a chronic condition and can damage other organs too. Patients with IBS often have bowel obstruction and painful stomach cramps. IBS is difficult to diagnose and it is believed that some patients may be experiencing anxiety and depression even without IBS.
Autoimmune hepatitis is an inflammatory disease which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks liver cells. Common symptoms of this condition include jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, liver dysfunction, and skin rash. A liver infection by organisms called mycoplasma genitalium is the most common cause of autoimmunity. This disease is characterized by fever, swollen lymph nodes, and joint and muscle aches. Autoimmune hepatitis may lead to serious liver failure and is the cause of more than half of all liver-related deaths.