Liver Failure, Liver Disease, Liver Problems

Liver Failure, Liver Disease

Visual Guide to Liver Problems

Your liver is a tough, amazing organ, but some health conditions -- and bad habits -- can harm it. What you need to know:

9/27/2021 5:30:00 AM

Your liver is a tough, amazing organ, but some health conditions -- and bad habits -- can harm it. What you need to know:

It's a tough, amazing organ, but lots of health conditions -- and bad habits -- can harm your liver. Learn from this WebMD slideshow what could happen and what you can do about it.

Duct and Blockage ProblemsPrimary sclerosing cholangitiscauses scars in the ducts that carry bile from your liver to your intestines. Over time, it can cause serious liver damage. So can the rareBudd-Chiari syndrome, when veins in the liver get blocked off.

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Gallstonesthat block bile ducts can cause jaundice and other problems. You're also more likely to have gallstones when you have liver disease.CancerDifferent types of cancer can affect the liver, although most spread from other parts of the body. Your chances of getting liver cancer -- the kind that starts in the liver -- are higher when you already have damage from fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis, liver failure, and other conditions. If that's the case, your doctor may suggest you get checked regularly so you can catch cancer early.

Genetic ProblemsSome people are born with rare conditions that can cause liver disease. Symptoms may show up when they're babies or not until 40 or 50 years later.Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency(A1AD) means your body doesn't make enough of a special protein that protects against liver damage. headtopics.com

Hemochromatosislets too much iron build up in your liver. Similarly, someone withWilson diseasewill have too much copper in their liver.DiagnosisYour doctor will start with blood tests to see how well your liver is working. They may use ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs to get a look at it and check for damage. Some people also need a biopsy. That's when a doctor uses a needle to take a tiny sample of the liver and then tests it.

TreatmentIn early stages of liver disease, lifestyle changes can often heal liver problems completely. Even with advanced disease, they can often limit the damage. Medications such as steroids, surgery, and other treatments may also help slow down or stop liver disease.

Stop DrinkingWhether your disease is mild or severe, your liver will be happier if you quit. Can't do it on your own? Speak up. Ask your doctor for help getting into a treatment program. To help prevent liver disease, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women, two for men.

Eat Well and ExerciseIf you're heavy, try to lose some weight. It can improve your liver health and even cure some types of early-stage liver disease. Regular exercise is great whether or not weight is an issue. Eat a balanced diet, with lots of healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Choose high-fiber foods, and limit high-fat things like fried foods as well as salt. headtopics.com

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TransplantsFor a severe problem like liver failure, they can be lifesaving. A surgeon will remove the sick liver and replace it with a healthy one. But a transplant doesn't have to be awholeliver. Sometimes, the doctor can use just part of a liver from a living person. In time, it will grow to full size, and the donor's will grow back, too.

Read Medication LabelsFollow the instructions on whatever drug or product you use. Don't take more than the recommended amount. And never mix any medication with alcohol unless your doctor or pharmacist said it's safe. If you have liver problems, you should check with your doctor before you take

anynew medicine, supplement, or vitamin.Take Care of Your Health Read more: WebMD »

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