Liver Disease

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

What are the risk factors for liver disease?

  • Some liver diseases are potentially preventable and are associated with lifestyle choices. Alcohol-related liver disease is due to excessive consumption and is the most common preventable cause of liver disease.
  • Hepatitis B is a viral infection most often spread through the exchange of bodily fluids (for example, unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing unsterilized drug injecting equipment, using non-sterilized equipment for tattoos or body piercing).
  • Hereditary liver disease can be passed genetically from generation to generation. Examples include Wilson's disease (copper metabolism abnormalities) and hemochromatosis (iron overload).
  • Chemical exposure may damage the liver by irritating the liver cells resulting in inflammation (hepatitis), reducing bile flow through the liver (cholestasis) and accumulation of triglycerides (steatosis). Chemicals such as anabolic steroids, vinyl chloride, and carbon tetrachloride can cause liver cancers.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose is a common cause of liver failure. It is important to review the dosing guidelines for all over-the-counter medications and to ask for guidance from your health care professional or pharmacist as to how much of any medication may be taken safely. While over the counter medications are relatively safe, they may cause complications directly or as an interaction with a prescription medication.
  • Medications may irritate the liver blood vessels causing narrowing or the formation of blood clots (thrombosis). Birth control pills may cause hepatic vein thrombosis, especially in smokers. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 7/15/2015
References
REFERENCES:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. "Liver."

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7. Ed Uthman, MD

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12. Photolibrary.com

13. Getty Images / Bigstock / iStock

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