Chronic Liver Disease

The incidence of chronic liver diseases is rising all over the world, especially in Africa. A South African study has revealed that nearly 36% of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, while 17% of patients with this condition have advanced fibrosis in the liver.
Considering the fact that nearly 50% of the population in the sub-Saharan African countries is still in the early phase of nutrition transition, it appears rational to have advanced health interventions put into place to combat choric liver diseases.

Choric liver diseases: Introduction

The liver is one of the vital organs of our body. The liver plays a key role in digesting food and eliminating toxic substances from the body. Any abnormalityaffecting the liver can create an adverse impact on these processes thus affecting the overall health of patients.
Most chronic liver diseases are caused due to a variety of factors like infections due to viruses, excessive alcohol intake, high fat intake, and obesity.

What are the symptoms of chronic liver diseases?

Most chronic liver diseases do not cause any noticeable symptoms, especially in the early stage of development.
Some common symptoms that may occur include:

  • Jaundice (skin and eyes appear yellowish)
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Itching of the skin
  • Passing dark-colored urine
  • Pale color of stool
  • Chronic unusual fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tendency for easy bruising

What are the causes of chronic liver disease?

Tan infection due to bacteria and viruses, including hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, causing inflammation in the liver tissues is the most common cause of liver diseases.
Immune system abnormalities in which the immune cells attack certain parts of the body can also affect the liver. The common examples of autoimmune liver conditions include autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
An abnormal gene inherited from one or both the parents can cause thetoxic substances to build up in the liver, resulting in liver damage. Some genetically-linked liver diseases include hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

The common risk factors for chronic liver diseases include:

  • Obesity
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Tattoos or body piercings
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Blood transfusion
  • Family history of any chronic liver disease
  • Injecting drugs by using shared needles
  • Exposure to the blood and body fluids of an infected person
  • Having unprotected sex
  • Exposure to some chemicals or toxins

Diagnosis of a chronic liver disease

Blood tests to assess the liver functions, ultrasound of the abdomen, and liver biopsy are effective methods for the diagnosis of chronic liver diseases. Imaging tests like an MRI and CT scan can show the extent of the liver damage.

Treatment of a chronic liver disease

The treatment for a chronic liver disease is based on the specific diagnosis and the duration of the illness. Some liver conditions can be managed well with dietary and lifestyle modifications, like stopping alcohol use and losing weight, typically as a part of the treatment plan that includes careful assessment and monitoring of the liver function.
Some liver problems can be treated with medications while some may require surgery such as a liver transplant.
However, the need for the more intensive treatments can be avoided if the condition is detected at an early stage. We have a team of skilled medical professionals who have expertise in the management of chronic liver diseases. You can visit us at our healthcare center or contact us to learn more about the treatment of these conditions.

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