What Are Some Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of Liver Disease?

Genetic disorders, obesity, certain medications, infections, cancer and damage by viruses and alcohol use cause liver diseases, notes Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include jaundice, abdominal swelling and pain, dark urine, and swelling in the legs and ankles. Treatment depends on the specific diagnosis.

There are more than 100 known types of liver diseases, notes News Medical. The most common are hepatitis viruses, cirrhosis, liver tumors and hemochromatosis, lists Mayo Clinic. The symptoms of liver disease are usually very general during the early stages, according to News Medical. They include fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and general malaise.

As the disease progresses, the patient experiences more obvious symptoms such as yellowing of eyes and skin, fluid accumulation in the ankles and abdomen, spider angiomas, and itchy skin, according to News Medical. Symptoms that signal a medical emergency include rectal bleeding, vomiting blood and mental confusion, according to C-Health.

The stages of liver disease include inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver failure, according to the American Liver Foundation. If diagnosed early, treatment is often successful. Treatment usually involves lifestyle modification such as losing weight and stopping alcohol use, explains Mayo Clinic. Some liver diseases require medication or surgery. Liver failure ultimately requires a liver transplant.