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Liver diseases

Cirrhosis of the liver   Hemochromatosis
Cirrhosis is an irreversible result of various disorders that damage liver cells over time. Cirrhosis is the result of damage to the liver cells from toxins, metabolic problems or other causes. As the liver cells die they are replaced by fibrous tissue. Long-term alcoholism is the primary cause of cirrhosis.
  Gastointestinal (GI) bleeding describes any blood loss that occurs through the digestive tract. GI bleeding can emanate from any site along the way. Doctors often divide digestive tract bleeding into upper GI tract bleeding, lower GI bleeding or occult GI bleeding. Those with heavy bleeding may need blood transfusions.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis   Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an inflammatory disease of the bile duct, which leads to cholestasis (blockage of bile transport to the gut). Bile is necessary for the absorption of dietary fat. Blockage of the bile duct leads to accumulation, damages the liver (leading to jaundice) and eventually causes liver failure.   Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic liver disease that causes slow, progressive destruction of bile ducts in the liver. This destruction interferes with the excretion of bile. Continued liver inflammation causes scarring and eventually leads to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is present only in the later stage of the disease.
Alagille syndrome   Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency
Alagille syndrome is an inherited disorder that mimics other forms of prolonged liver disease seen in infants and young children. Alagille syndrome causes problems in the liver, heart, eyes, spine, and kidneys. Alagille syndrome is generally inherited from one parent and there is a 50 percent chance that each child will develop the syndrome.   Alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children and is the most common genetic disease for which liver transplantation is done. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein that is made in the liver. Alpha-1 antitrypsin protects the lungs so they can work normally.
Crigler-Najjar syndrome   Hepatitis
Crigler-Najjar syndrome is caused by a disorder in the metabolism of bilirubin, the chemical that causes jaundice. It causes severe, permanent brain damage. Crigler-Najjar syndrome is a rare form of congenital non-haemolytic hyperbilirubinaemia. Crigler-Najjar syndrome is inherited as a recessive condition.   Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver, resulting in liver cell damage and destruction. Hepatitis is the Latin word for liver inflammation. Hepatitis can be caused by diseases that primarily attack the liver cells. It can also arise as a result of a disease such as mononucleosis. Most cases of hepatitis are caused by viruses that infect liver cells and begin replicating.
Fatty liver   Liver transplant
Fatty liver is the collection of excessive amounts of triglycerides and other fats inside liver cells. Fatty liver disease can range from fatty liver alone (steatosis) to fatty liver associated with inflammation (steatohepatitis). Treatment involves correcting the condition that caused fatty liver and providing supportive care.   A liver transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person. A liver transplant is recommended for individuals who have serious liver dysfunction and will not be able to live without having the liver replaced. An entire liver may be transplanted, or just a section.
Wilson's disease   Ascites
Wilson's disease is an inherited disorder in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body. In Wilson's disease, copper does not pass from the liver into the bile, but rather begins to accumulate within the liver. Wilson's disease is an inherited disorder, passed in families as a recessive trait.   Ascites is the presence of excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity. It is a common clinical finding with a wide range of causes, but develops most frequently as a part of the decompensation of previously asymptomatic chronic liver disease. Ascites tends to occur in long-standing (chronic) rather than in short-lived (acute) disorders.
Cholestasis   Jaundice
Cholestasis is a condition caused by rapidly developing or long-term interruption in the excretion of bile (a digestive fluid that helps the body process fat). The term is taken from the Greek chole, bile, and stasis, standing still. Cholestasis is caused by obstruction within the liver or outside the liver.   Jaundice is yellowing of the skin, sclera (eyes) and mucous membranes caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the system. Jaundice is the yellow staining of the skin and sclerae by abnormally high blood levels of the bile pigment, bilirubin. Jaundice is very common in a mild and transient form in newborn babies.
Liver encephalopathy   Liver failure
Liver encephalopathy is changes in the brain that occur in patients with advanced acute or chronic liver disease. If liver cells are damaged, certain substances that are normally cleansed from the blood by the healthy liver are not removed. Liver encephalopathy is a potentially life-threatening disease in which toxic substances accumulate in the blood.   Liver failure is severe deterioration of liver function. Liver failure occurs when large parts of the liver become damaged beyond repair and the liver is no longer able to function. Liver failure can result from any type of liver disorder, including viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver damage from alcohol or drugs.
Portal hypertension    
Portal hypertension is the build-up of pressure in the portal vein. Normally, the pressure is low compared with the arterial pressure, but slightly above the pressure in the other veins in our body system. The most common cause of portal hypertension and its clinical consequences is liver disease.    

Topics in digestive disorders

Signs and symptoms of digestive diseases
Anal and rectal disorders
Diverticular disease
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Peptic disorders (Stomach disease)
Emergencies of digestive system
Liver diseases
Irritable bowel syndrome
Diagnostic tests for digestive disorders

Featured articles

Crohn's disease
Ulcerative colitis
Peptic ulcer
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Liver transplant
Colon cancer
Stomach cancer
Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer)

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005