When liver disease is caught at an early stage, proper treatment and lifestyle changes can support the liver’s ability to heal and regain function. The board-certified doctors at Illinois Gastroenterology Group have extensive experience in determining the cause of liver disease and providing the care you need to promote healing and wellness. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace, and Palos Heights, Illinois, or use the online booking feature.
Your liver performs many jobs, including the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, forming and secreting bile used to digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins, and eliminating toxic wastes from your body.
These are a few examples of diseases that can affect your liver:
Many of the diseases on this list are caused by viruses, medications, toxins, herbal supplements, alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic problems such as diabetes.
As a group, liver diseases cause:
You may also develop skin conditions such as itching or eczema and notice that your urine is dark or that you have bloody or tar-colored stools.
Your liver is so essential to your health that it rapidly rebuilds new tissues to maintain optimal function. You can regenerate a new liver if 25% of its tissues remain intact. However, it regenerates only as long as it’s healthy. Once your liver is diseased, the damage progresses through stages no matter what health condition caused the problem.
At first, inflammation develops as your body tries to fight the disease. Ongoing inflammation leads to scarring, a condition called fibrosis. If you receive treatment at this stage, there’s a good chance your liver will heal.
Untreated fibrosis eventually progresses to become cirrhosis. At this stage, hard scar tissue replaces soft, healthy tissue, but you can slow down its progression with treatment that protects the remaining healthy tissues.
As cirrhosis gets worse and takes over more of your liver, you’ll enter end-stage liver disease. At this point, your liver is so damaged that the only treatment option is a liver transplant.
Treatment for liver disease includes managing the underlying condition and making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, changing your diet, and quitting alcohol. Losing weight alone can significantly lower liver inflammation, fatty deposits, and fibrosis.
Your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group may prescribe medications or supplements to treat some of the underlying conditions responsible for liver disease.
Early treatment is essential for protecting the health of your liver. At the first sign of problems, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or schedule an appointment online.