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Living with liver disease requires a partnership that includes you and a team of multidisciplinary experts that understand your condition.
Featuring Rohit Loomba, MD, in HHMI Bulletin
Conditions such as viral hepatitis B or C, fatty liver disease, autoimmune liver disease and hemochromatosis can increase the risk for developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. Our goals are slowing, stopping and curing these conditions so that they do not progress to more serious medical illnesses. At the liver disease clinics, liver specialists work with you to closely monitor and manage your condition.
The most common tests for livery injury or inflammation are ALT, AST, ALP and GGT. If test results are elevated, you may experience more testing to check for the liver diseases listed below and others.
Meet with liver specialists at any of our five Liver Center Locations.
Drug-induced liver disease is relatively common in the United States. A leading cause of drug-induced liver disease is acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. Acetaminophen is safe in doses less than 2,000 mg per day. (One extra-strength Tylenol tablet contains 500 mg.) Over 2,000 mg can cause acute or chronic liver damage. Acetaminophen overdose is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States, and alcohol consumption can substantially increase the risk. In rare cases herbal medications and some over the counter remedies can sometimes cause liver injury. Read more about acute liver failure from acetaminophen.
Autoimmune liver diseases are caused when the body's immune system attacks liver cells or the tubes that carry bile. This causes inflammation and produces scar tissue. Untreated autoimmune liver diseases can lead to cirrhosis and eventually to liver failure.
Cholestasis is a relatively rare syndrome that results when the flow of bile and bilirubin from the liver is impaired. Common symptoms are dark urine, pale stools, and itchy and yellowed eyes and skin.
Cirrhosis is a serious condition in which scarring damages the liver. When a person has cirrhosis, scar tissue (fibrosis) replaces healthy tissue and prevents the liver from working as it should. Cirrhosis can be deadly, but early treatment can help stop damage to the liver.
Fatty liver disease, also known as steatosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is inflammation of the liver caused by a buildup of fat in liver cells. NASH is similar to alcohol-induced liver disease, but it occurs in people who do not abuse alcohol. Typically, people with fatty liver disease are obese and may have hypertension, high blood lipids and diabetes.
Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid in bile. Most gallstones do not cause problems, but if they block a duct, they usually need treatment.
Hepatitis A is an acute liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A usually causes temporary liver inflammation and people recover without any long-term liver problems.
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver. In most adults who are exposed to hepatitis B, there is only a short-term infection (called acute hepatitis B) after which the virus is cleared from the blood. In some people, however, the infection becomes long-term (chronic). You can have chronic hepatitis B and not know it. As long as you have this chronic form of hepatitis B, you can spread it to others.
This is a common infection in people born outside the United States and screening is recommended for many groups of people. For people who have developed chronic hepatitis B, treatment can control the disease in most people and can decrease the risk of liver cancer and cirrhosis. Vaccination is a cornerstone of preventing the spread of this disease.
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver that is curable in some individuals. In time, it can lead to permanent liver damage as well as cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Many people do not know that they have hepatitis C until they already have some liver damage. Tests for hepatitis C are simple and treatment options are available. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Hemochromatosis is a condition that develops when too much iron builds up in the body. Small amounts of iron are normally stored in the bone marrow, liver, kidneys and heart, but excess iron will eventually damage these organs. Iron tests are simple and treatment is done through blood removal (phlebotomy).
Hepatoma, hepatocelluar carcinoma, or primary liver cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the liver due to infection or inflammation. Having hepatitis or cirrhosis can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Possible signs of liver cancer include a lump or pain on the right side of the body. For more information on our services, see Liver Cancer Clinic.
Polycystic liver disease is an inherited disorder characterized by the appearance of many cysts of various sizes throughout the liver.
Hepatitis C Education Class
1st and 3rd Thursday of every month, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Liver Transplant Support Group
3rd Thursday of every month, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Liver Transplant Education Class
1st and 4th Monday of every month, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Get more information on these programs and classes.
Apheresis Program - Plasmapheresis
Official Web Site of the University of California, San Diego.