Your liver is part of your gastrointestinal system and plays a major role in helping you digest food and removing toxins from your blood. There are many types of liver disease that may interfere with these normal functions. The gastroenterology team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A., with offices in Annapolis, Stevensville, Odenton, Bowie, and Pasadena, Maryland, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Liver disease includes any condition that affects the structure or function of your liver. Liver disease may be inherited, or it may develop from an outside factor that damages the organ, such as a virus or excessive alcohol use.
The type of liver disease may depend on the underlying cause. Some types of liver disease include hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The inflammation may develop from many causes, but it’s most often from a viral infection such as hepatitis A, B, or C.
Fatty liver disease means you have a buildup of fat in your liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic fatty liver disease are the two types.
Fatty liver disease may lead to liver inflammation and scarring of the tissue that may progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Cirrhosis is a severe, irreversible scarring of the liver. It can result from a number of causes, such as hepatitis or excessive alcohol consumption.
Symptoms of liver disease may depend on the type. In some cases, you may not have any symptoms at all until there’s permanent damage.
Common symptoms of liver disease include:
An especially common symptom is jaundice, which is a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes.
When you come in with symptoms that sound like liver disease, your gastroenterologist at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates conducts a thorough exam to find the underlying cause of your symptoms.
To diagnose liver disease, your provider reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical. Then, they run various diagnostic tests, such as blood work, urinalysis, and imaging tests, to confirm or rule out liver disease.
They may also take a biopsy of your liver to help diagnose the type of liver disease and determine the severity of damage.
Treatment for liver disease depends on your diagnosis. Some forms of liver disease, such as fatty liver disease, may improve with lifestyle changes such as losing weight or abstaining from alcohol.
For viral hepatitis B or C, your gastroenterologist may prescribe an antiviral medication to treat the infection, which may prevent or delay serious liver damage. For cirrhosis, you may need a liver transplant.
With an early diagnosis and treatment plan, you may prevent long-term health complications related to liver disease. For expert care, call Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. or book an appointment online today.