Many people worldwide suffer from liver disease, and if untreated, a damaged liver can be life-threatening. Liver failure is one of the most common causes of death in men and women across the world. There are four stages to liver failure, and if detected at an early stage, you can arrest the disease and heal with time. They are-
- Enlarged liver – inflamed liver
- Fibrosis- scarred tissue replaces the healthy tissues
- Cirrhosis- a build-up of scarred tissue. The liver fails to function properly
- ESLD or End-Stage-Liver- Disease
- Liver Cancer
Dr.Mark Swaim MD PhD. – An Overview of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Mark Swaim MD PhD is an esteemed gastroenterologist and hepatologist with Duke University’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine in Durham. He deals with diseases and abnormalities of the body’s digestive system and liver disease. He says hepatology is that branch of medicine specializing in the diagnosis, study, prevention, and the management of conditions of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and the biliary tree.
He says the liver is an essential organ in the human body when it comes to liver disease. It is as large as a football. It is located under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. The liver helps in the digestion of food and eliminating waste products from your body.
How is a liver disease caused?
Liver disease can be genetic. Again, it can be caused due to multiple factors that damage the organ-like obesity, alcoholism, and viral infection. Some of the key causes of liver disease are fatty liver, alcohol abuse, and hepatitis. In the case of cirrhosis treatment, generally advise you to consume a low sodium diet. You should stop drinking alcohol as it is a toxin and not healthy for your body. If you drink in excess, the liver works extra hard to eliminate toxins from the body.
If liver damage is left untreated, the liver gets damaged over time and leads to a condition of scarring known as cirrhosis. This will result in liver failure. Early treatment will arrest this scarring and heal the liver gradually.
What are the key symptoms of liver disease?
The following are the key symptoms of liver disease-
- No appetite
- Color of the urine is dark
- Color of the stool is pale
- Swelling in the ankle or leg
- Pain and swelling in the abdomen
- Yellowish hue in skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Chronic fatigue
- Itching sensation in the skin
- Skin bruises easily
- Vomiting and nausea
When you notice the above signs and symptoms, you must immediately consult a doctor and get a Liver Function Test done.
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According to Mark Swaim MD PhD cirrhosis is not curable entirely, but it can be treated with medicine. Doctors generally have two objectives- they instruct you to stop the liver damage and stop further complications to the organ. You should follow the advice of your doctor and be regular with health check-ups to allow your liver to heal completely.