Get to know more about your liver and common diseases that can impact it.
Been diagnosed with liver disease or know someone who has? Have a family history of liver disease and want to know if there is anything you can do to keep your liver healthy? The liver is a vital organ responsible for filtering toxins from the body. From the Chicago, IL, medical team at Summit Digestive and Liver Disease Specialists, here are the top five things you should know about liver disease.
Liver Disease Affects All Ages
Liver disease isn’t just a disease of adulthood. It can impact everyone, from infants to seniors. In fact, liver disease is so common that it is the 11th leading cause of death globally. Everything from genetics to viruses to lifestyle can impact the health of the liver. Sometimes there is no apparent cause.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Liver Disease
It’s important to know when your liver may have damage, disease or an injury so that you can turn to our Chicago, IL, team right away to treat the problem before it gets worse. Signs that your liver may not be working properly include,
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain (typically in the upper right side )
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Pale stools
- Itchy skin
- Abdominal swelling
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
- Easily bruising
Unfortunately, many people with liver or biliary disease don’t even have symptoms, so they don’t typically know they have issues until they get blood work from their doctor.
Drinking Alcohol isn’t the Only Factor for Liver Disease
Most people assume that an unhealthy diet and heavy alcohol consumption are the leading causes of liver disease. While they certainly play a role, you may be surprised to learn that obesity is the leading cause of liver disease in the US (according to the American Liver Foundation). Genetics can also play a role.
The Liver Can Repair Itself
The liver is a pretty amazing organ. After all, when healthy, it can regenerate and reverse the damage. Even if most of the organ has been removed, it can nearly grow back to its original size. The NIH reports that it can grow back even if 90 percent of a liver has been removed. Depending on the severity of the damage, most livers can repair themselves in just 30 days, but it may require you to quit alcohol altogether.
The Liver isn’t Invincible
Even though the liver is incredibly regenerative, it isn’t impervious to long-term or even permanent damage. Everything from toxic exposure to long-term heavy alcohol consumption to disease can damage the liver to the point that it can no longer repair itself. You may require a liver transplant when the liver has sustained this irreparable damage.
With six offices throughout the city of Chicago, IL, and Oakbrook Terrace, IL Summit Digestive and Liver Disease Specialists is your leading liver disease specialist. If you are experiencing symptoms of liver problems or want to schedule an appointment, call today at (630) 889-9889.