The liver is a big organ situated under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. It is the organ that is essential for food digestion and getting rid of toxins in the body.

Liver disease is inherited or caused by different factors than can damage the liver. The liver can be damaged because of viruses or excessive alcohol use. Sometimes, even obesity can be lead to liver damage. Liver damage can result in scarring, i.e. serious medical condition cirrhosis that can eventually bring to liver failure.



Symptoms of liver disease can be:

  • Yellowish skin and eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Easily bruising of the skin
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Pale or bloody stool

A person should visit the doctor if experiences any of the aforementioned symptoms constantly, and seek immediate medical care if there is a severe pain in the abdomen that he/she cannot stand.



Liver disease can occur due to many different causes:

  • Infections by parasites and viruses that cause inflammation and reduce the liver function. The viruses can be spread through blood or semen, contaminated water and food, or close contact with infected people. Most common types of liver infections are A, B and C hepatitis viruses.
  • Abnormality of the immune system due to an autoimmune disease such as: autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis
  • Genetics-an abnormal gene can be inherited from one or both parents and bring to genetic liver diseases such as hemochromatosis, hyperoxaluria, oxalosis and Wilson’s disease
  • Cancers such as liver cancer, bile duct cancer and liver adenoma
  • Other causes may be chronic alcohol abuse and accumulating fat in the liver


Risk factors

Factors that can make the risk greater are:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Injecting drugs with shared needles
  • Tattoos and piercing
  • Unprotected intercourse
  • Exposure to blood and fluid of other people
  • Exposure to some toxins and chemicals
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Higher triglycerides level in the blood



If liver disease is not treated it can progress to really serious condition-liver failure.



The treatment for liver disease will depend on the diagnosis. Some problems can be solved with changes of the lifestyle as eating healthy and exercising in order to lose weight or quitting alcohol use. Other problems, however, will need to be treated with medicine or surgery. A treatment for liver disease that may eventually bring to liver failure will need a liver transplant.



In order to prevent liver disease a person should:

  • Quit drinking or drink moderately
  • Get vaccinated
  • Use medications wisely
  • Stop behaving risky
  • Avoiding contact with people’s blood and body fluids
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Protect the skin
  • Maintain healthy weight



To prevent liver disease:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. Heavy or high-risk drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and for men older than age 65, and more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week for men age 65 and younger.
  • Avoid risky behavior. Get help if you use illicit intravenous drugs, and don't share needles used to inject drugs. Use a condom during sex. If you choose to have tattoos or body piercings, be picky about cleanliness and safety when selecting a shop.
  • Get vaccinated. If you're at increased risk of contracting hepatitis or if you've already been infected with any form of the hepatitis virus, talk to your doctor about getting the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.
  • Use medications wisely. Take prescription and nonprescription drugs only when needed and only in recommended doses. Don't mix medications and alcohol. Talk to your doctor before mixing herbal supplements or prescription or nonprescription drugs.
  • Avoid contact with other people's blood and body fluids. Hepatitis viruses can be spread by accidental needle sticks or improper cleanup of blood or body fluids.
  • Take care with aerosol sprays. Make sure the room is ventilated, and wear a mask when spraying insecticides, fungicides, paint and other toxic chemicals. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Protect your skin. When using insecticides and other toxic chemicals, wear gloves, long sleeves, a hat and a mask.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.