Understanding Liver Disease
posted: Dec. 12, 2022.
Liver disease can be a scary diagnosis. Unfortunately, it’s also a common medical condition. Seeing the right specialist can make all the difference in how you manage liver disease. A gastroenterologist is an expert at the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal issues, including liver disease.
Your liver has an important job. When your liver is functioning properly, it effectively and quickly eliminates toxins and waste products from your body. When your liver function is impaired by liver disease, toxins and waste products can build up in your body, causing more damage to your liver and your other organs.
There are many factors which can increase your risk of liver disease, including:
- Exposure to a virus
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
- Having a harmful reaction to a drug
- Eating a poor diet and being overweight
- An autoimmune disorder
Liver disease can sneak up on you. It may cause few, if any, signs or symptoms. In fact, you may not experience any signs or symptoms until the disease is far advanced. Some of the signs and symptoms of liver disease for you to watch out for include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Weakness and fatigue
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Swelling and edema in your extremities
- Mental impairment
- Physical impairment
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above, it’s important to visit your gastroenterologist. Your gastroenterologist will perform a comprehensive physical examination and order laboratory testing and imaging studies to diagnose liver disease. If you have liver disease, it can be classified into four stages which are:
- Stage 1 liver disease–inflammation in your liver
- Stage 2 liver disease–scarring or fibrosis of the liver
- Stage 3 liver disease–cirrhosis of the liver
- Stage 4 liver disease–liver failure
Visiting your gastroenterologist is one of the most important ways to help halt the progression of liver disease, so you can live a longer, healthier life. To find out more about the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of liver disease, talk with your gastroenterologist today.