Your liver helps you to digest food and get rid of toxic substances. Over time, liver disease can develop as a result of genetics (inherited from a family member), viruses or lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol or being obese.
Common Liver Conditions
Some common liver diseases include:
- Hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in stool and blood of infected people and is very contagious. Symptoms include nausea, stomach pain, fatigue and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Getting the hepatitis A vaccine can help prevent infection.
- Hepatitis B, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is found in blood, semen and other bodily fluids of infected people; it’s often spread by sexual contact, from mother to baby at birth or by sharing needles. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, fatigue, no appetite and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Hepatitis B can be a short-term or long-term (chronic) illness. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine can help prevent infection.
- Hepatitis C, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is found in the blood of infected people; it’s often spread by sharing needles. Hepatitis C can be short-term if treated or become long-term (chronic) if it goes untreated. Chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C; however, Inspira Health recommends getting tested for it.
- Cirrhosis is a result of long-term damage to the liver. Most often, it develops slowly over many years and can be caused by hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholism, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis could also be caused by an auto-immune disease or other diseases such as primary biliary cholangitis, hemochromatosis or Wilson’s disease. Symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, itchy skin, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), bruising easily and swelling in the legs and abdomen.
Diagnosing Liver Disease at Inspira
If you have symptoms of liver disease, your doctor may recommend bloodwork, imaging tests or a biopsy to examine your liver’s health.