The liver is an organ about the size of a football that sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances.
Liver disease can be inherited (genetic) or caused by a variety of factors that damage the liver, such as viruses and alcohol use. Obesity is also associated with liver damage.
Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure, a life-threatening condition.
- The liver plays an important role in many bodily functions from protein production and blood clotting to cholesterol, glucose (sugar), and iron metabolism.
- A variety of illnesses can affect the liver, for example,
- certain drugs like excessive amounts of acetaminophen, and acetaminophen combination medications like Vicodin, Norco, and statins,
- alcohol abuse,
- hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E,
- Epstein Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis),
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,
- iron overload (hemochromatosis),
- Symptoms of liver diseases include
- weakness and fatigue,
- weight loss,
- vomiting, and
- yellow discoloration of the skin (jaundice).
- The treatment of a particular liver disease depends on its specific cause.