Liver Diseases

The liver is essential to the digestive system. It performs many functions in the human body, and when it becomes diseased it can cause many different symptoms. It is important to lean about the symptoms of liver disease to know when you should see Dr. Nowain.

Liver Disease: Liver disease is when the functions of the liver have been compromised in some way. Some common liver diseases are:

  • Cancers
  • When blood flow to the liver has lessened
  • Cirrhosis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive consumption of certain medications
  • Some types of mushrooms
  • Hepatitis A – viral infection spread through fecal to oral route.
  • Hepatitis B – viral infection spread through exposure to bodily fluids, i.e. intravenous drug use, sexual contact, and contaminated blood.
  • Hepatitis C – a chronic viral infection spread through exposure to bodily fluids, i.e. intravenous drug use, sexual contact, and contaminated blood.

The common symptoms of liver disease are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain in the upper right side, fatigue, jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes), weakness, weight loss, or fever.

Fatty Liver: Fatty liver is often associated with moderate to excessive alcohol consumption. A liver is expected to have some fat, but when the liver’s weight is 5%-10% is when it is considered a fatty liver.

If you don’t drink alcohol often, yet have a fatty liver, it is either nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH). Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver disease in the United States, and is typically not dangerous. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can lead to liver damage and can be dangerous.

Symptoms of fatty liver include fatigue, pain in the upper right side of abdomen, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, confusion, or weakness.

Gallstones: Gallstones are masses of either cholesterol or bile pigment that form in the bile duct or the gallbladder. They can even be a combination of the two. In the United States, the most common type of gallstone is cholesterol.

Symptoms of gallstones are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Risk factors: Female gender, older age, obesity, high cholesterol levels, medications containing estrogen, rapid weight loss, diabetes and pregnancy are all risk factors for developing cholesterol gallstones. Disorders that lead to the destruction of red blood cells such as sickle cell anemia are associated with the development of pigmented or bilirubin stones. The occurrence of gallstones varies widely among different ethnic groups. You do not have to be concerned about gallstones if you are not experiencing any symptoms. If the bile duct is stopped due to gallstones, you will begin experiencing the aforementioned symptoms. Once you are experiencing symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.

If you or someone you know has experience symptoms associated with liver disease, fatty liver, or gall stones, please contact Dr. Nowian. Dr. Nowain is trained in the treatment of liver disease and has treatment options available for liver disease, gall bladder disease, and liver cirrhosis.