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Indian Loves India » Health » Common Liver Problems

Common Liver Problems

The most amazing thing about the liver is it’s resilience and sturdiness. Liver function can often continue even when the liver is afflicted by serious problems and even potentially life-threatening liver diseases. It can keep working even when diseases destroy most of its cells, and unlike other organs, it can even regenerate although a large portion has been removed during surgery (an attribute which has saved the lives of thousands who have had liver transplants from living donors).

Liver problem types  

A liver problem can be minor or a liver problem can be fatal. Generally, a liver problem will fall into one of three categories.

  • Problems affecting liver cells
  • Problems related to the secretion or production of bile
  • Toxins that accumulate in the liver and cause liver damage

Common liver problems

*Hepatitis. This is can be an extremely serious liver problem. It happens when the liver becomes inflammed. There are several different kinds of hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

*Cirrhosis. This was once the most common liver problem in many countries. Cirrhosis results when the liver becomes scarred, usually from drinking too much alcohol. Most people call it “cirrhosis of the liver,” but technically speaking, this very serious and life threatening liver problem can simply be called “cirrhosis.”

*Fatty Liver Disease. This liver problem occurs when droplets of fat begin to accumulate on the liver. As the fat deposits grow, they interfere with liver function.

*Liver Cancer. A potentially serious and often fatal liver problem. Liver cancer can originate in the liver itself, or it can result from the spread (metastasis) of cancer from a nearby organ.

*Enlarged liver. Liver enlargement is usually a clue that some other liver problem has developed. An enlarged liver is exactly that–a liver that has grown beyond its normal size. It is also known as hepatomegaly. Symptoms of this liver problem are rare, but if the liver becomes grossly enlarged, the patient may begin to experience abdominal discomfort or a sense of “feeling full.”

*Liver cysts. Simple liver cysts are sac-like formations in the liver, filled with mucous or watery substances. They’re usually benign, cause no signs or symptoms, and don’t require treatment. This liver problem is not life threatening.

*Wilson’s disease. A genetic defect that causes a liver problem because abnormal amounts of copper accumulate in the body. This can lead to cirrhosis–a very serious liver problem indeed. Patients with Wilson’s disease sometimes experience jerky muscular movements and copper-colored rings around the eyes.

*Hemochromatosis. This disease causes extra iron to build up in the liver.

*Primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC. This is a liver problem that involves the bile ducts inside and outside the liver. These ducts become inflamed and scarred. Eventually the ducts become blocked, causing damage to the liver cells. Liver failure and cirrhosis can result.

*Primary biliary cirrhosis, or PBC. This is a slow, progressive destruction and loss of bile ducts in the liver. This can also lead to liver failure and cirrhosis. See our article on primary biliary cirrhosis.

*Autoimmune hepatitis. This results from an attack on the liver by the body’s own immune system. The liver becomes inflamed, and over time, cirrhosis can develop. See autoimmune hepatitis.

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