Liver Disease -
Symptoms, Diagnosis, Test
Do you know that the only organ in the body that can regenerate is the liver?
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body, and it is placed behind the lower ribs in the upper right section of the abdomen.
The liver is involved in a number of important bodily functions, including:
Dissociation of Toxic/Poison
Drugs and substances that are hazardous to the body are metabolised and detoxified by the liver.
The liver secretes bile juice into the intestine, which aids in the digestion of fats and other nutrients.
Storage of Glucose
It acts as a glucose storage facility within the body:
- When the body has too much glucose, it turns it into glycogen bundles and stores it.
- When the body doesn't have enough glucose, it converts glycogen to glucose.
The liver is in charge of managing the body's fat. When the liver is full with glycogen, it begins to convert it to fat, which is then delivered to the rest of the body through the bloodstream.
Stores Vital Vitamins
Many important vitamins, such as A, D, E, K, and B12, are stored in the liver.
Productions of Hormones and Enzymes
It helps maintain hormone balances by producing blood clotting factors, proteins, and enzymes.
Symptoms of Liver Disease
Liver dysfunction may not present any symptoms at all at first, or the signs may be vague, such as weakness and exhaustion.
The following are the most prevalent signs and symptoms of acute liver disease:
Yellow skin and eyes (Jaundice)
An excess of bilirubin causes jaundice, a yellow hue to the skin or eyes.
Bilirubin excreted by the kidneys causes dark urine.
Pale Stool Color
Pale stool color indicates that the liver is not producing enough bile or that the bile flow is obstructed.
Loose of Appetite
Appetite loss that may lead to weight loss.
Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea
Abdominal pain and swelling
Abdominal discomfort beneath the ribs on the right side of the body.
Unexplained Weight loss or gain
When normal liver function declines, itchy skin develops.
Are you suffering from Liver disease?
The following are some of the factors that may raise the risk of liver disease:
Heavy alcohol use
The liver can become inflamed and enlarged as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.
Injecting drugs using shared needles
Injecting narcotics using sharing needles raises the risk of contracting Hepatitis C.
Tattoos or body piercings
Hepatitis C and significant liver disease can be caused by tattoos or body piercings done with contaminated equipment.
Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins
Excessive exposure to chemicals or poisons.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is linked to diabetes.
Obesity frequently causes fat cells to accumulate in the liver.
Types of Liver Disease
Any disorder that produces liver inflammation or damage and may compromise liver function is referred to as liver disease.
Fatty Liver Disease
- - Under normal circumstances, a healthy liver contains very little or no fat.
- - Fatty Liver Disease is caused by the liver's excess fat production and storage, which can lead to the liver being fat.
- - Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease can occur even when no alcohol is used or when just a little amount of alcohol is consumed.
- - It's a silent killer since it causes no or only minor symptoms unless it's detected.
- - If not treated promptly, it can lead to liver cancer or severe liver failure.
Alcoholic Vs Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- - Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is a condition that affects persons who consume a lot of alcohol.
- - If the person quits consuming alcohol, the condition can be reversed.
- - Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is characterized by fat deposition in the liver irrespective absence or ingestion of alcohol.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- - NASH is a variant of NAFLD that is more severe. NASH causes inflammation and cell death in the liver, in addition to fat storage.
- - Hepatocellular ballooning and inflammation can cause NASH to develop to more serious disease stages, such as advanced fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer.
- - NASH symptoms are typically undetectable until the liver is irreversibly damaged.
Risk Factors for NASH include but not limited to
- - Hypertension
- - Heart disease
- - High blood lipid levels,
- - Insulin resistance,
- - Type 2 diabetes
- - Obesity
- - Liver fibrosis develops after a person sustains a liver damage or inflammation, as in NASH and other disorders. It is caused by an overabundance of extracellular matrix proteins, such as collagen, which occurs in the majority of chronic liver disorders.
- - Wound healing is aided by the cells of the liver. Excess proteins, such as collagen and glycoproteins, build up in the liver during wound healing.
- - The liver cells (known as hepatocytes) can no longer mend themselves after several instances of repair. Excess proteins cause scar tissue, also known as fibrosis. Cirrhosis, liver failure, and portal hypertension are all symptoms of advanced liver fibrosis, which commonly necessitates liver transplantation.
- - Medications and lifestyle changes can help prevent the progression of fibrosis.
Cirrhosis refers to the scarring of the liver. Scar tissue develops as a result of damage or long-term disorders such as fatty liver, NASH, and hepatitis. Cirrhosis can cause a variety of ailments, including kidney failure, jaundice, gallstones, and more.
Hepatitis is a liver inflammation caused by a variety of factors such as infections or viruses. There are several forms of hepatitis, including:
- - Hepatitis A: One of the main factors for the spread of hepatitis A is poor sanitation and not washing hands on a regular basis.
- - Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, particularly tainted needles or unprotected intercourse.
- - Hepatitis D: Only persons who have already been infected with hepatitis B can get it.
- - Hepatitis E: This is an infection spread through water or food.
- - Excess bilirubin causes jaundice, which causes the skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow.
- - Hemoglobin, the component that transports oxygen in red blood cells, contains a yellow pigment called bilirubin. The body generates new red blood cells to replace those that break down, and the old ones are digested by the liver.
- - Bilirubin builds up in the body and the skin may appear yellow if the liver cannot handle the breaking down of blood cells.
Risk Factors for Liver Cancer include:
- - Being infected with hepatitis B or C
- - Heavy alcohol consumption
- - Cirrhosis (liver scarring)
- - Hemochromatosis (iron storage disorder)
- - Diabetes
- - Obesity
Bile Duct Diseases
- - Bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver, aids in the breakdown of fat. The gallbladder pushes the bile into bile ducts, which take it to the small intestine.
- - Different disorders can obstruct the bile ducts and create bile flow problems:
- Gallstones are solid particles formed in the gallbladder from bile cholesterol and bilirubin. It can trigger a gallbladder attack by increasing gallbladder pressure.
- Biliary atresia, for example, is a birth defect. It is the most common reason for a child's liver transplant.
- Scarring can occur as a result of inflammation. This can eventually lead to liver failure.
Wilson Disease is a rare genetic disorder in which the body is unable to remove extra copper. Wilson disease causes copper to build up in the liver, which then releases it into the bloodstream, causing damage to the brain, kidneys, and eyes.
How is Liver disease diagnosed?
To detect various liver illnesses, a variety of tests are conducted.
Liver Function Test
It is a collection of tests that are used to diagnose, evaluate, and track liver illness or damage. Typically, a panel consists of numerous tests performed simultaneously on a blood sample. These typically include:
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
An enzyme present primarily in liver tissue, but also in the heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle to a lesser level. Its measurement is useful in the diagnosis of liver and biliary disorders in the clinic.
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
An enzyme presents in the heart, liver, and muscles, among other places in the body.
Because AST readings aren't as specific for liver damage as ALT, they're frequently used with ALT to rule out liver disease. AST can be released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured. An elevated AST level could point to an issue with the liver or muscles.
Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGTP)
The liver has the largest amounts of this enzyme, which is found in many organs throughout the body. GGT levels in the blood are raised in most disorders that affect the liver or bile ducts.
It is used to identify elevated bilirubin levels in the blood. It aids in the diagnosis of illnesses such as liver disease, hemolytic anemia, and bile duct blockage, as well as determining the source of jaundice.
It examines a conjugated (combined with another substance) form of bilirubin in the liver; it is only elevated in cases of liver disease.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
An enzyme produced by the bile ducts, but also by the bones, intestines, and the placenta during pregnancy (afterbirth). High levels of ALP may signify liver inflammation, bile duct blockage, or bone disease.
The major protein produced by the liver is albumin. This test determines the amount of albumin in a person's blood. If the result is low, it means the liver isn't working properly.
The total protein test determines the total quantity of protein in the blood, with an emphasis on albumin and globulin levels. It also calculates the "A/G ratio," which is the ratio of albumin to globulin in the blood.
Total protein can be used to assess nutritional status, liver disease, protein-losing renal illness, and gastrointestinal ailments in patients.
An excessive quantity of ammonia in the blood can be caused by severe liver disease, kidney failure, or certain rare genetic disorders, and can be detected with an ammonia test.
Ceruloplasmin is a copper-carrying protein in the blood that also helps with iron metabolism. Wilson disease is an autosomal recessive illness that can be diagnosed using ceruloplasmin testing. Menkes syndrome, a genetic deficiency in copper absorption, can also cause low levels.
Bile Acids, Total
Increases in serum bile acids could be a sign of acute or chronic hepatitis, liver sclerosis, liver malignancy, or pregnancy-related intrahepatic cholestasis.
NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) Fibrosis Score
It's a non-invasive grading system based on a series of laboratory tests that can assist determine the extent of liver scarring.