Liver Enzymes and Other Hepatology News
© 2011 -
One of the most frustrating things about liver disease is that the symptoms don't
show up until the damage has already been done. The liver is one of the most important
organs of the body; blood flows through it constantly from the intestines, and after
the blood reaches it, the organ then purifies the blood and delivers it to the heart.
When damage is done to the liver it will continue to operate, but in a less effective
manner, and this generally doesn't become apparent until there is so much damage
that it is unable to perform its functions well, and that is when symptoms start
to show up.
Regardless of the causes of liver damage, the impact is almost always the same. The liver forms scar tissue as a self-
The signs that liver damage have occurred won't manifest until enough of the cells are damaged. When they do appear, they range from fatigue and weakness, to jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and eyes), to weight loss. As the disease state progresses, more serious signs arise, including nausea and vomiting, swelling of the abdomen, legs and feet, and even internal bleeding. All of these symptoms are an indication of the damage that has been done to the liver preventing it from doing its job, and of the body responding to the absence of the liver's important functions being done. Continued below....
An inflamed liver can be caused by many different things; it can be a result of an overdose of acetaminophen or other medications, exposure to toxic substances, drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time, or a fatty diet. Other causes are genetically based. Exposure to hepatitis causes liver damage, and is usually spread through risky behaviors such as the sharing of needles or unprotected sex. Whatever the cause, the effects of the damage can range from short term to fatal.
When liver damage is due to an overly fatty diet and results in fatty liver disease, a dietary adjustment that cuts high fat and high cholesterol foods and replaces them with vegetables and fruit can reverse the course of the disease.
Exercise and a healthy lifestyle cannot reverse damage, but it can stop it in its tracks. In other cases, when the damage has become extensive enough, the only choice available is a liver transplant.
Some causes of liver damage have very specific symptoms; for example, if liver damage is caused by gall stones, there is a specific and recognizable pain in the upper abdomen, and a favor can often appear. Whatever the cause, the disease must be confirmed, and that can be done through a variety of blood tests, diagnostic imaging, physical examination and even taking a biopsy to examine the liver's cells in a laboratory. This process can help identify the extent of the liver damage that's been done, and can then guide the course of treatment. In most cases where severe damage has been done, it is only the symptoms that can be treated rather than the damage itself.
|Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)|
|High Liver Enzymes|