Liver Disease Treatment in Wichita, KS
What is Liver Disease?
Liver disease is a general term that refers to any condition affecting your liver. These conditions may develop for different reasons, but they can all damage your liver and affect its function. Liver disease includes a wide range of conditions.
If you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of liver disease, request an appointment with one of our highly trained liver specialists at our liver care clinic. Our gastroenterologists are expertly trained in diagnosing and treating liver disease. Call (316) 293-3455 to request an appointment at our liver care clinic in Wichita, KS today.
What is the Role of the Liver?
In order to understand liver disease, it is helpful to understand the role of the liver. The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and is housed underneath your ribs on your right side.
Your liver performs hundreds of tasks related to metabolism, energy storage, and waste filtering. It helps you digest food, convert it to energy, and store the energy until you need it. It also helps filter toxic substances out of your bloodstream.
The liver also performs the vital function of producing bile, a substance that carries toxins out of your body and aids in digestion. The liver separates nutrients and waste as they move through your digestive system.
What are Some Causes of Liver Disease?
Because there are so many functions of the liver, there are several liver diseases. These diseases may be caused by infections, inherited conditions, or lifestyle choices.
Some common causes of liver disease include:
- Problems with your immune system
- Genetics or inherited diseases
- Cancer and other growths
- Fat accumulation in the liver
- Chronic alcohol abuse
Symptoms of Liver Disease
If you have liver disease, you may not have any symptoms. If you suspect something is wrong with your liver, it is a good idea to seek help from a liver specialist. In order to diagnose a liver disease, you may undergo a series of blood tests called liver function tests.
The most common indicator of a liver problem is the yellowing of the skin known as jaundice. This occurs when there is too much bilirubin in your blood. When blood cells die, the liver normally filters it from the bloodstream. If you have a liver issue, however, your liver can’t keep up and the bilirubin builds up and may cause your skin to look yellow.
Symptoms of liver disease may include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Bruising easily
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine or change in color
- Pale stool color
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Over time, liver disease can cause cirrhosis (scarring). If the disease is left untreated, it can lead to liver failure or liver cancer. It is important to understand liver disease and seek help, because when scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue the liver can no longer function properly.
If you have any of the above symptoms and suspect you may have a liver disease, contact a health professional right away.
Types of Liver Disease
There are several types of liver disease with various causes.
Some common liver diseases include:
- Infection – Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Problems with your immune system – autoimmune liver diseases, primary biliary cholangitis, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), primary sclerosing cholangitis
- Genetics or inherited diseases – Wilson disease and hemochromatosis
- Cancer and other growths- benign (noncancerous) or malignant (liver cancer) when cells multiply in your liver such as hepatocellular carcinoma
- Medications -overexposing your liver to certain drugs and supplements
- Fat accumulation in the liver – Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Chronic alcohol abuse– Alcoholic fatty liver disease
What are the Treatment Options for Liver Disease?
Depending on your liver disease, there are a variety of treatment options.
Treatment depends on the severity of your condition. Many people with liver disease can manage with lifestyle changes and medications.
Some lifestyle changes that help your liver include improving your diet and limiting fat and calories. Limiting salt can also help reduce your swelling.
If you are a heavy drinker, it puts a great deal of strain on your liver. Heavy or high-risk drinking is defined as more than eight drinks a week for women and more than 15 drinks a week for men. Alcohol-related liver disease can improve with abstinence from alcohol.
Your liver specialist may recommend medicine for your liver disease, especially if you have a viral infection like hepatitis or an inherited condition.
If your liver disease has progressed to liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. This treatment option replaces your liver with a healthy liver. This is a major operation that involves waiting for a healthy liver from a donor.
Seek Help From Experts in Wichita, KS
Liver disease can feel overwhelming, but we are here to help. Our team of experts will answer your questions and listen, diagnose, and treat your liver disease. We have your best interest in mind, and you can feel confident in KU Wichita Gastroenterology as we help you care for your liver. Call (316) 293-3455 to schedule your appointment at our gastroenterology office in Wichita, KS today.