Whether caused by a virus or an injury, liver diseases affect nearly 4 million adults in the United States. If you have abnormal bruising or swelling or if your urine or stool changes colors, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Sreelatha Reddy at Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic in Houston to find out if you have liver disease.
Your liver is about the size of a football and sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. It’s essential for digesting food and removing toxic substances from your body.
Several factors can cause your liver to become diseased, and over time, the damage results in scarring called cirrhosis, which leads to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
Several factors contribute to liver disease, including:
Parasites and viruses can infect your liver and cause inflammation that reduces liver function. The viruses that cause liver damage spread through blood, semen, contaminated food or water, or close contact with an infected person. Hepatitis viruses are the most common types of liver infection.
Autoimmune diseases, in which the body begins to attack its cells, can affect your liver and lead to liver disease. Examples of such diseases include primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
An abnormal gene inherited from your parents often leads to a build-up of various substances in your liver, damaging it. Genetic liver diseases include:
Liver cancer is another form of liver disease.
Your liver filters harmful substances out of everything you eat and drink, so they don’t enter your bloodstream. This process gets interrupted if fat accounts for more than 5-10% of your liver’s weight. While lifestyle modifications help, fatty liver is currently the leading cause of liver transplantation.
Symptoms of liver disease vary, and often include:
To diagnose your liver disease, Dr. Reddy reviews your history and performs a thorough physical examination that often includes diagnostic tests such as:
The treatment Dr. Reddy recommends for liver disease depends on your diagnosis. Most often, the regimen incorporates lifestyle changes, including avoiding alcohol and losing weight. If treatment fails, leading to liver failure, a liver transplant is often required.
To have your liver function tested and to check to see if you have liver disease, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Sreelatha Reddy at Houston Gastrointestinal & Liver Clinic in Houston.