Liver Disease & Hepatitis

What are common causes of liver disease?

• Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
• Alcoholic liver disease
• Viral hepatitis
• Drug-induced liver injury
• Hereditary hemochromatosis
• Wilson’s disease
• Autoimmune liver disease


How are liver diseases and conditions diagnosed?

Inflammation within the liver is often recognized when liver enzymes are found to be elevated on routine blood work. This prompts a more comprehensive work up to determine the etiology of the elevated liver enzymes. This usually includes further blood testing along with an imaging test such as an ultrasound, fibroscan, CT scan or MRI. In certain cases, a liver biopsy may be required to confirm a diagnosis prior to treatment.


How is liver disease treated?

The treatment of liver disease depends on the underlying cause. In the setting of fatty liver disease, certain dietary and lifestyle modifications can be recommended. Anti-viral treatments are used for the treatment of viral hepatitis. Autoimmune conditions of the liver are often treated using anti-inflammatory medications that modulate the body’s immune system.


What is liver cirrhosis?

Liver cirrhosis refers to advanced scarring that develops in the setting of chronic inflammation. This can result from any of the underlying causes of liver disease mentioned above. Cirrhosis is considered end stage liver disease. Complications of liver cirrhosis include fluid build up within the abdomen, frequent infections, confusion, liver cancer and gastrointestinal bleeding.


What are the symptoms of liver cirrhosis?

• Feeling fatigued and tired
• Swelling of the stomach and legs
• Easy bruising
• Vomiting blood
• Bloody stools
• Yellowing of the skin or eyes
• Confusion
• Difficulty breathing
• Coma


How is cirrhosis treated?

The treatment of cirrhosis depends on the severity and the underlying cause. If cirrhosis is due to chronic alcohol use, abstinence would be the treatment of choice. Cirrhosis due to Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medications.

Complications of cirrhosis can be managed with a variety of medicines. For fluid build up, your doctor may recommend diuretics which remove fluid by causing frequent urination. Confusion is generally managed with laxatives and antibiotics. The risk of gastrointestinal bleeding is reduced by using medications that lower the blood pressure within the liver called beta blockers.

The information provided above is meant to be used as an informative guide for patients. For precise and individualized recommendations, please consult with one of our board certified gastroenterologists to discuss your symptoms.

For additional information or to book an appointment at the Gastroenterology Center of New York, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated team by calling us at 718-210-2960. You can also schedule online or reach out to us via the Contact Us form.

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