A disease is a disruption in the normal function or structure of an organism. For instance, liver disease is an umbrella term covering many conditions that can ultimately affect the proper functions of the liver. Most of these conditions follow a similar path of progression and destruction of liver cells, thus benefitting from like-minded prevention and management strategies. Liver disease is a growing silent killer in the U.S. Anyone can develop it, and everyone should know the signs.
Resilient, Not Immortal
The liver’s main job is to filter the blood from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body. It also detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes drugs, produces glucose, controls the storage and release of fat, and more. Liver disease can be inherited or caused by a variety of factors such as:
- Autoimmune disease
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Poor diet and obesity
- Reactions to medications, street drugs, or toxic chemicals
A liver can repair itself and regenerate, often reversing damages when caught early enough. Unfortunately, liver disease doesn’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms until much later in the progression, where reversal is much more difficult. If symptoms do occur, they may include:
- The yellowish appearance of the eyes and skin
- Pain and swelling of the abdomen
- Swelling in the ankles and legs
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine color
- Pale stool color
- Persistent fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Bruising easily
Early Detection is Key
Once you know your risks of developing liver disease, you can work with your doctor to regularly check your liver. You can also implement lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating healthier, and exercising regularly. These changes may seem small but are significant players in stopping, reversing, or preventing the progression and development of liver disease.
If you are at risk for liver disease or experiencing symptoms, opportunities at Clinical Pharmacology of Miami may help. Clinical research studies are underway around the globe targeting efforts at improving the care of those with liver disease. Our facility offers FREE fibroscans that help adults at risk quickly and painlessly learn more about the health of their liver. Schedule your free scan and learn more about our future research studies evaluating potential new options for individuals with liver impairment on our website. Or, talk with our friendly staff for assistance at (305) 817-2900.