Liver Disease

What is liver disease?

The liver plays an extremely vital role in the body. Not only is it responsible for protein production, but it also metabolizes cholesterol, glucose and iron. Liver disease is a broad term used to describe any condition that damages the liver and/or affects its function.

What are the causes of liver disease?

Liver disease has a number of causes, including:

  • Autoimmune diseases, which are diseases that cause the immune system to attack another part of the body, such as the liver
  • Cancer of the liver or bile duct
  • Certain abnormal genes
  • Chronic alcohol abuse
  • Infection from parasites or viruses (e.g., Hepatitis A, B and C)
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is an accumulation of fat in the liver that results in scarring (cirrhosis)

What are the risk factors?

In most cases, lifestyle choices are what lead to liver disease. These can include:

  • Abusing certain medications
  • Diabetes
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Injecting drugs with needles that are shared with others
  • Obesity
  • Tattoos or piercings
  • Unprotected sex

Other risk factors include:

  • Contact with certain chemicals
  • Exposure to the bodily fluids of others
  • Having a blood transfusion before 1992

What are the symptoms of liver disease?

The onset of liver disease is usually gradual when causes such as repetitive abuse of medication and alcohol take time to have an effect. When symptoms become more prevalent and if jaundice (yellowing of the skin) sets in, patients should seek out a healthcare professional. The most common symptoms of liver disease include:

  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Upper right abdominal pain
  • Vomiting

What are the treatment options?

Because there are different causes of liver disease, each one will have their own specific treatment regimen. Our team at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey (GANJ) is well-equipped to treat each individual case of liver disease and come up with a plan to get patients on a path to wellness.

For more information on liver disease or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.