The liver is a large organ that sits on the right side of the abdomen, protected by the ribcage. A healthy, average person’s liver weighs just over 1.3 kg or 3 pounds. The main function of the liver is to purify the blood that comes from the digestive tract.
Along with the pancreas, the liver plays an important role in digestion by secreting digestive enzymes that help in breaking down and absorbing food. The liver is also responsible for producing certain components that are vital for blood coagulation.
Causes of Liver Disease
When the liver doesn’t function as it should due to disease or injury, the body experiences negative implications that range from minor to potentially life-threatening ones. There are many diseases that affect the functioning of the liver, such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, haemochromatosis, Wilson disease and cancer. Some liver problems are caused due to lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption etc.
What are some of the Common Liver problems?
The common liver problems include:
- Hepatitis: It is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and damages it. Hepatitis is of five different types – Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
- Fatty Liver Disease: It refers to the accumulation of fat in the liver. It can be of two types – alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by consumption of alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease caused by other factors.
- Autoimmune conditions: In this, the immune system accidentally attacks the healthy cells in our body.
- Genetic conditions: Several liver disorders are inherited from parents. These include haemochromatosis, Wilson’s diseases and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Symptoms of Liver Problems
Due to the vast number of factors that can act as potential causative agents for liver problems, the symptoms vastly vary. However, these are some of the common characteristic symptoms of liver problems:
- Weight loss
- Swelling of the limbs
- Itches and rashes
- Dark urine
- Bloody stool, or dark stools
- Pain in the abdominal region
- Swelling in the abdominal region
- Slower blood clotting
Sometimes, these seemingly unrelated signs and indications act as early symptoms of liver disease. In conclusion, these are some of the major liver damage symptoms.