Jay P. Diliberto, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Huntington Beach, CA
Millions of Americans suffer from either acute or chronic liver disease. The acute diseases include viral hepatitis A, B, C, or D, medication-induced liver diseases, and immune-mediated disease. Chronic liver diseases include genetic diseases such as Hemochromatosis, alcoholic liver disease, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and Fatty Liver as well as Fatty Liver at its worst, referred to as NASH. (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis). Board-certified gastroenterologist Jay P. Diliberto, MD, in Huntington Beach, California, offers expert care for all forms of liver disease. To learn how you can treat, sometimes cure, and monitor many of these liver diseases, call the office of Jay P. Diliberto, MD Inc. or use the online appointment scheduling tool now.
Liver Disease Q&A
What is liver disease?
Liver disease is any disease affecting the liver, the football-sized organ under your ribs. The liver performs vital roles, including detoxifying your blood, recirculating red blood cell breakdown products, metabolizing medications and digested food, producing bile to assist with dissolving fats for absorption, and helps to maintain blood glucose levels.
Liver disease can lead to liver failure, so it's important to diagnose and treat liver disease as early as possible.
Many liver diseases can progress if not diagnosed and treated. The end-stage of many disorders is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can have serious consequences such as bleeding, confusion, and abdominal fluid buildup called ascites. Patients can also go on to develop liver cancer which may be fatal.
What are some of the causes of liver disease?
The main causes of liver disease include:
Fatty buildup in liver
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat accumulates in your liver cells. This type of liver disease is often accompanied by excess body weight, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. 10-15 % of these patients can have a progressive course disease that ends in a nonfunctioning liver we refer to as having cirrhosis.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease results from excessive alcohol use.
Viral and parasitic infections can trigger liver inflammation that prevents your liver from working normally. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types of infectious liver disease. These viruses that cause liver disease are passed through intimate contact, blood, and contaminated food or water.
An autoimmune disorder, in which your body destroys its own healthy tissue, can affect your liver. Examples include autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
You can inherit gene abnormalities that lead to liver disease. Examples include Wilson's disease and Hemochromatosis. Genetic analysis can help outline your risk and those of your family so they can be diagnosed and screened at an early stage.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of liver cancer. Other forms include bile duct cancer and cancers that start in your liver blood vessels.
Liver cancer can also occur if the disease spreads from another part of your body (secondary liver cancer or metastatic cancer).
What symptoms might liver disease cause?
Liver disease symptoms aren't always obvious in the beginning. As the disease progresses, you may experience problems such as:
- Jaundice (yellow eyes or skin)
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating or distention
- Itchy skin
- Tendency to bruise easily
- Lower extremity swelling
- Dark urine
- Pale stool
- Poor appetite
- Chronic exhaustion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle atrophy or wasting
A gastroenterology consultation with Dr. Diliberto can help determine whether you're dealing with a serious liver disease or something that may not be so serious. He can customize a treatment plan for your condition after a detailed diagnosis is achieved.
How is liver disease treated?
Treatment generally depends on the type of liver disease and its cause. For some types of liver disease, for example, both nonalcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease, lifestyle changes like losing weight and discontinuing alcohol use, is the first-line treatment.
Other types of liver disease require medication, and a more advanced case may require a transplant or surgery.
For expert diagnosis and treatment of liver disease, call Jay P. Diliberto, MD Inc. or schedule an appointment online now.