What Is Liver Disease?


Quick Answer

Liver disease is a term used to describe any condition that inhibits healthy liver function. Diagnosis and treatment of liver disease depends on its particular type and cause, according to MedicineNet.

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Liver disease can be genetic, as part of an inherited condition. It can also develop as a result of damage from certain chemicals or substances. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause irreparable liver damage. According to MedicineNet, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of liver disease in North America. Certain prescription drugs can cause liver damage. Overuse of over-the-counter medications can also lead to liver disease. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose can cause liver failure.

Hepatitis and other viral infections can greatly increase a person's risk of developing liver disease. Liver cancer is also considered a liver disease. According the Mayo Clinic, chronic liver disease can lead to cirrhosis, a condition where healthy liver cells are permanently replaced by non-functional scar tissue. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure, which can be fatal. Treatment regimens will vary depending on the type and severity of the liver disease and can range from taking medication to a liver transplant in the most extreme cases of failure.

Some symptoms of liver disease are rapid weight loss, nausea and vomiting, jaundiced (yellow colored) skin, weakness and fatigue. Anyone who thinks they may have any kind of liver disease should see a doctor as soon as possible.

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