What is Liver Disease?
Our liver performs a lot of functions that keep us healthy. It helps turn nutrients into chemicals that our body requires, filters out poison, and helps turn food into energy. So, when our liver does not function properly, it affects our whole body. Among others, the most severe condition concerning the liver is cancer.
As we all know, our liver continuously filters blood that circulates blood that circulates through our body, converting drugs and nutrients adsorbed through the digestive tract into ready-to-use body chemicals. The liver performs several other vital functions, including removal of the toxins and other chemical waste components from the blood and preparing them for excretion.
Primary liver cancer can arise directly in the liver or strikes due to cancer in other body parts and then spread to the liver. In most cases, liver cancer is secondary (metastatic), meaning it begins elsewhere in the body. Liver cancer usually develops due to the prevalence of hepatitis (a significant reason for other liver diseases), caused by contagious viruses that make an individual prone to liver cancer.
Since the liver is made up of different cells, several types of tumors can construct there. Some are benign, while some are cancerous and may spread to other body parts.
Liver Diseases Causes
Here, we will have a short overview of different causes of severe liver diseases:
Sometimes, the concerning issue is that you have an infection that inflames your liver, to which the most common cause is viral hepatitis, including:
Hepatitis A: Most individuals get it by eating or drinking something tainted by any fecal matter. In this condition, you might not have any symptoms as it usually vanishes by itself within six months without any long-term harm.
Hepatitis B: This hepatitis form is contagious, and we get it usually from someone else, such as taking drugs with shared needles or through unprotected sex. If it lasts for more than six months, it can result in liver cancer or other diseases
Hepatitis C: It comes from infected blood that somehow gets mixed with your blood. The possible chances of having this medical condition are if you take drugs with shared needles or in association with HIV. If you are a medical healthcare professional, you might catch it because of an infected needle that accidentally sticks you. Symptoms may not appear for several years. And, for some unclear reasons, baby boomers are prone to hepatitis C, and one should have it tested on time.
Immune System Conditions
As we all know, our immune system fights invaders such as bacteria and viruses. But it might divert and attack one or two significant parts of the body, such as the liver. Some such immune system problems may include:
Autoimmune hepatitis: This medical condition inflames your liver and can lead to other severe disorders such as liver failure. It strikes females more often than males.
Primary biliary cholangitis: attacks tiny liver tubes known as bile ducts. These little tubes carry bile, a body chemical that helps you digest food. When there is an injury in the duct, the bile backs up inside your liver and causes scars in it. Women are more prone to this liver condition as compared to men.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis: This condition scars the bile duct and eventually blocks them. Here, the bile builds up in the liver and makes it challenging for your liver to work. It may be responsible for liver cancer, and your body may someday need a liver transplant. Men are more prone to this liver condition than women.
Inherited medical conditions
Some inherited liver conditions only occur if they run into your family or you have a family past of any liver disorder:
Hemochromatosis makes your body store iron in an excessive amount from your food. The extra iron starts building up in your liver, heart, or other such organs and can result in life-threatening medical issues such as liver diseases, heart disorders, or diabetes.
Hyperoxaluria strikes when your urine has an excessive amount of a chemical known as oxalate. Because of genetic mutation, your liver makes a small amount of oxalate in this medical problem. It can result in the formation or worsening of kidney stones or cause kidney failure. If you have kidney failure, it can result in oxalosis formation, collection of oxalate in other organs that cause more trouble.
Wilson’s disease forms copper buildup in the liver and other organs. Its initial symptoms usually appear when you are between the ages of 6 and 35 years, usually in the teens. It not only affects your liver but also makes you prone to nerve and psychiatric problems.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency involves a specific chemical made by your liver that helps your lungs resist infections. But when your liver fails to make this chemical accurately, this faulty chemical can build up and cause severe liver disease.
Liver damage signs
Signs of liver damage are not always noticeable, but some liver damage signs may include:
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (Jaundice)
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- dark urine and pale stool color
- itchy skin, chronic fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
- loss of appetite, tendency to bruise easily
End-stage liver disease symptoms
End-stage liver disease is less likely to be treated. The symptoms may include easy bleeding or bruising, abdominal pain, intense itching, persistent or recurring yellowness in the skin or eyes (jaundice), nausea, and loss of appetite.
Other severe symptoms may include swelling due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen and legs, Problems with concentration and memory.
Does smoking weed affect your liver?
The general belief is that only large consumption of weed daily is usually linked to liver fibrosis development and may affect liver health. However, recent research reports that weed smoking is associated with a lesser risk of alcohol-related liver damage, including liver cancer.
As evidence grows that weed can prevent or treat a range of liver conditions, it is essential to remember that this product is still illegal in several parts of the United States. Weed is an addictive component that can cause harm if misused.
Covid Vaccine and Liver Damage
There are rumors that the covid vaccine is causing liver problems, but there are no clear pieces of evidence to support it. While the vaccine trials, scientists have not explicitly focused on people with liver disease, there is no data suggesting harm for people with liver conditions.