Understanding Liver Disease

Understanding Liver Disease

Your liver is vital for your overall health. Here’s what you should know about liver disease.

While you might not realize it, the liver is one of the most important organs that we have. This 3-pound organ located on the right side under your lower ribs does everything from filter and detoxify your blood to promote blood clotting and perform hundreds of key chemical functions. Unfortunately, our Greenbelt, MD, gastroenterologists Dr. Sushil Rattan and Dr. Radman Mostaghim are seeing a rise in liver disease in the US.

What causes liver disease?

There are more than 100 different kinds of liver disease. Liver disease may be caused by genetics, autoimmune disorders or viruses, while other forms of liver disease are the result of a poor lifestyle. Bad habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, taking drugs or eating a poor diet can increase your risk for developing liver disease.

It’s important that liver disease is detected early on. The liver is incredible, as it has the ability to regenerate and heal all by itself. This means that by catching liver disease during the very early stages, our Greenbelt, MD, GI doctors can help reverse the disease through a customized treatment plan that focuses on leading a healthier lifestyle.

What are the most common types of liver disease?

Some of the most common forms of liver disease include,

  • Viral hepatitis (A, B or C)
  • Alcohol or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Genetic liver disease (e.g. hereditary hemochromatosis)
  • Autoimmune liver disease (e.g. primary sclerosing cholangitis)

What are the warning signs of liver disease?

If you are dealing with an acute liver problem you may suddenly notice,

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (known as jaundice)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain under the right lower rib
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Fever

However, liver disease doesn’t always cause symptoms. If symptoms persist for more than six months, then this is considered a chronic liver condition. Unfortunately, many people may have liver problems but never even know it. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, you may want to talk with our gastroenterologists about getting regular blood tests to check hepatic (liver) function. Even your regular physician can perform this simple blood test to check liver enzymes.

Whether you have liver disease in your family, or you are concerned about the health of your liver, our Greenbelt, MD, gastroenterology team is here to answer your questions and provide you with the care you need. Call GI Med Health today at (301) 982-7900 to schedule an evaluation.

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