Liver Disease

What are the causes of liver disease?

The liver can be damaged in a variety of ways.

  • Cells can become inflamed (such as in hepatitis: hepar=liver + itis=inflammation).
  • Bile flow can be obstructed (such as in cholestasis: chole=bile + stasis=standing).
  • Cholesterol or triglycerides can accumulate (such as in steatosis; steat=fat + osis=accumulation).
  • Blood flow to the liver may be compromised.
  • Liver tissue can be damaged by chemicals and minerals, or infiltrated by abnormal cells.

Alcohol abuse

Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver disease in North America. Alcohol is directly toxic to liver cells and can cause liver inflammation, referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. In chronic alcohol abuse, fat accumulation occurs in liver cells.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a late-stage of liver disease. Scarring of the liver and loss of functioning liver cells cause the liver to fail.

Reviewed on 7/10/2014

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