Frequently asked questions about Liver disease
What could be the possible symptoms of Liver disease?
3. Loss of appetite
7. Abdominal pain & bloating when fluid accumulates in the abdomen
9. Spiderlike blood vessels on the skin
10. Yellowing of the eyes and skin
11. Bleeding from the GI tract
12. Retention of fluids in the abdomen belly.
What are the Risk Factors for developing Liver disease?
- Frequent Alcohol consumption.
- In India, Metabolic syndrome like Overweight, Diabetes, High Lipids & NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis) are the major risk factors.
- Apart from alcohol consumption, many OTC medications if taken in greater amounts than the recommended dose can also result in liver damage. Acetaminophen overdose is a common reason for considering a liver transplant
- Many inhalants like cleaning solvents, aerolised paints, and thinners are more dangerous since they cause a serious damage to the liver
- Autoimmune diseases (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis)
- Hereditary conditions
Can damage to the liver be reversed?
Yes, the Liver is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate. Liver damage can be reversed since it can replace the damaged cells with the new cells. eg). If up to 50-60 % of the liver cells may be killed within 3-4 days in an extreme case like Tylenol overdose, the liver will repair completely after 30 days if no complications arise.
What is hepatitis? Is it also related to liver?
Yes, Hepatitis means inflammation and damage to liver cells. There are many causes like Drugs, Alcohol inherited diseases, certain metabolic diseases and viruses. But the most common cause of Hepatitis is the hepatitis Virus. There are many viruses that cause hepatitis which are designated as A, B, C, D, E and G .The most common causes among the viruses are Hepatitis A, B, and C & E.
The hepatitis A & E virus is transmitted through contact with an infectious person or through contaminated food and water.
The hepatitis B & C virus is transmitted through Sexual contact, faulty Blood transfusion, IV drug abuse.
HBV can remain alive on any surface for about a week, e.g. table-tops, razor blades, blood stains, without losing infectivity.
How important are hepatitis vaccines?
Hepatitis Vaccines are very important. There are vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A and B.
Hepatitis B vaccine has been incorporated in the newborn vaccination chart. Therefore, Hepatitis B has been almost eradicated. Adults who are in high risk occupations such as healthcare field and carrying out high risk activities should also be vaccinated.
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended in a number of child-care settings and should be discussed with your paediatrician.
There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C or E yet. So precautions have to be taken for the same.
What are the preventive measures that need to be taken?
- Avoid Alcohol
- Keep weight under check, Control lipids & blood sugar level.
- Avoid Hepato toxic drug
- Vaccinate yourself with Hepatitis B & A.
- Avoid direct exposure to blood or any article that is infected with blood.
What are the treatments for Hepatitis?
Hepatitis A: There is no treatment for hepatitis A specifically. Ibuprofen can be taken for the relief of abdominal pain. Treating the symptoms is the best way to make the patient feel comfortable until the infection goes away.
Hepatitis B: Complete Rest has to be taken. With proper diet which is high in protein & carbohydrates, the damaged liver cells can be repaired.If diet is not sufficient, the doctor may prescribe interferon.
Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is treated with a combination of peg interferon and ribovarin. Vitamin B12 supplements can be very beneficial for patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis D or E: So far, there is no effective treatment for either hepatitis D or E. In Pregnant women, E is extremely dangerous & hospitalization is required.
We do hope that we have covered all the questions you would have had regarding this topic. In case you have any other questions do let us know and we will do our best to answer them.