Liver disease is usually not curable, and treatment consists of managing symptoms, MedicineNet states. Medications, lifestyle changes and surgery are some of the typical treatment options, Mayo Clinic explains. The most serious cases, involving total failure of the liver, may only be treatable with a liver transplant.
Only liver disease caused by several specific causes, including hepatitis A and gallstones, is curable, MedicineNet explains. Liver disease caused by hepatitis A is eventually cured by the body's immune system eliminating the infection. Gallstones are treated with surgery to remove the gallstone itself or the entire gallbladder.
Even if there is no cure, monitoring and treatment programs to manage symptoms and keep the disease in check are often available, MedicineNet explains. Patients whose liver functioning has been severely degraded typically need to take medicine that minimizes the amount of protein and water they retain. Some patients may exhibit a buildup of fluid in their abdominal cavity; as this fluid can become infected, regularly removing it may be necessary.
Causes of liver disease include autoimmune conditions such as primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis; infections including hepatitis A, B and C; genetic defects that lead to excessive accumulation of certain substances in the liver; and cancer of the liver or neighboring structures. Consistently high alcohol intake and a steady buildup of fat in the liver can also lead to liver disease, Mayo Clinic notes.