Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Knowing Liver Diseases



Though most often liver diseases are linked to alcohol or drugs, the fact is that there are more than 100 forms of liver disease caused by many other factors that affect everyone from infants to adults.
Cirrhosis is often considered to be a form of liver disease and may be the only liver-related condition that many people have heard of. In fact, cirrhosis is a condition that results from permanent damage or scarring of the liver. Many types of liver disease still have unknown causes but the most frequent liver diseases are generally caused by one of the following factors:

  • Viral Hepatitis: Caused by viruses that attack the liver, viral hepatitis comes in many forms. The most common forms world-wide are hepatitis A, B and C. Although hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccine, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
  • Obesity: Another leading cause of liver disease fatty liver disease linked to obesity.
  • Alcohol: Factors such as gender, age, nationality, weight and health can affect how a person’s liver metabolizes alcohol. When the liver has too much alcohol to handle, normal liver function may be interrupted leading to a chemical imbalance.
  • Genetics: Several forms of liver disease are caused or thought to be caused, by defective genes. These forms of liver disease may be diagnosed in infancy or may not show up until later in life.
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Sometimes a body’s immune system may begin to attack the liver or bile ducts causing inflammation and scarring which leads to a progressive form of liver disease.
  • Drugs and Toxins: Liver disorder is a predictable consequence of overexposure or over-consumption of certain chemicals such as acetaminophen or industrial toxins like polyvinyl chloride or carbon tetrachloride.
  • Cancer: Although primary liver cancer is relatively uncommon, many other forms of cancer often metastasize in the liver. Because the liver filters a high volume of blood which may be carrying cancer cells, it is susceptible to developing a form of secondary cancer.

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