World Liver Day

Liver Disease account for approximately 2 million deaths per year worldwide and Liver Cirrhosis is currently the 11th most common cause of death globally.

World Liver Day- Act now for better prevention

  • Liver diseases account for approximately 2 million deaths per year worldwide
  • Cirrhosis is currently the 11th most common cause of death globally and liver cancer is the 16th leading cause of death
  • Pancreatic Cancer is 13th most common cancer worldwide and 11th most common cancer in India
  • Pancreatic Cancer has a 98% mortality rate - the highest of any cancer

TYPES OF LIVER DISEASES

Hepatitis - refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of Hepatitis which include Autoimmune Hepatitis and Hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.
Cirrhosis - is a late stage of scarring or fibrosis of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as Hepatitis and chronic alcoholism.
Liver Tumours - Benign Liver Tumours are very common and do not spread to other areas of the body, not posing a serious health risk.
Liver Abscess - A Pyogenic Liver Abscess (PLA) is a pocket of pus that forms in the Liver due to a bacterial infection.

SYMPTOMS

  • Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine color
  • Pale stool color, or bloody or tar-colored stool
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

CAUSES

Congenital Liver Disease:

  • Biliary Atresia - a condition in which bile ducts don't develop normally
  • Hemochromatosis - a condition in which Iron accumulates in the body, especially the Liver
  • Wilson's Disease - the inability to excrete copper, leading to accumulation in the Liver and Brain
  • Gilbert's Syndrome - elevated levels of unconjugated bilirubin in the bloodstream
  • Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency - a metabolic disorder and the most common genetic liver disease
  • Glycogen storage diseases - excess glycogen accumulates in the Liver tissue

Acquired Liver Disease:

  • Alcohol-related Liver Disease: There are three stages to alcohol-related liver damage- namely Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver), Alcoholic Hepatitis and Alcoholic Cirrhosis.
  • Viral Hepatitis: Hepatitis is a term used for inflammation of the Liver. There are five main types of Viral Hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): When there is a fat build-up in the Liver (steatosis), as is often the case in obese or overweight people, the functioning of the Liver is affected. In those people who have severe inflammation and progressive scarring (steatohepatitis) which can lead to Cirrhosis of the Liver.
  • Medication-induced Liver problems: Many medications can be toxic to the Liver, so it is important to always follow the dosage instructions on the packaging or as recommended by a Doctor.
  • Autoimmune Liver Disease: This includes a range of conditions in which the body's own immune system sets up inflammation against the Liver, leading to damage.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Blood tests: Liver Function Tests
  • Imaging tests: An ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI
  • Tissue analysis: Removing a tissue sample (biopsy) from the Liver

TREATMENT

Congenital Liver Diseases- Diet has to be watched carefully, so as not to put any unnecessary stress on the Liver. Biliary Atresia, a surgical procedure can be done to allow bile to drain from the Liver. Wilson's Disease, a chelating agent is used to remove the excess copper. In all these conditions, if the damage is too severe, a transplant may be needed.
Hepatitis B and C - Chronic Hepatitis B and C are treated with antiviral drugs. Early treatment can stop it from becoming chronic and preventing the Cirrhosis of the Liver. Hepatitis B is more difficult to treat as it tends to recur once the treatment has stopped. If you have Hepatitis B, you might have to take antiviral drugs lifelong.
Autoimmune Hepatitis - Medicines that make the immune system less active (immune suppressants, often in the form of steroids such as cortisone) are the main treatment for Auto-Immune Hepatitis.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) - The treatment for this condition involves identifying and treating underlying metabolic conditions such as diabetes, improving insulin resistance with lifestyle changes and medication and using antioxidants to protect the Liver from Cirrhosis. Weight loss and exercise are mandatory in this condition.
Cirrhosis - If the Cirrhosis is a result of alcohol or drug abuse, the substance abuse must be stopped completely to prevent further damage.
Liver Failure - The only treatment that can restore Liver function is a transplant.
Liver Cancer - Treatment of Liver Cancer depends on the stage that cancer has reached. If the tumor is small and in only one part of the Liver, surgery can be done to remove it. In some cases, a Liver Transplant might be the best option.

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