Autoimmune hepatitis is liver inflammation that occurs when your body's immune system turns against and damages liver cells. Untreated autoimmune hepatitis can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and eventually to liver failure. When diagnosed and treated early, however, autoimmune hepatitis can often be controlled with drugs that suppress the immune system.
Biliary atresia is a childhood disease where blockage occurs in the tubes (ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the small bowel. This congenital condition occurs when the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not develop normally. It is not known why the biliary system fails to develop normally. Treatment may require corrective surgery or liver transplantation.
Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver resulting from repeated or long-lasting injury, such as from drinking alcohol excessively over a long period of time or chronic hepatitis infection. As scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, the liver loses its ability to function. Initially patients may experience fatigue, weakness, and weight loss. During later stages, patients may develop jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), severe bleeding from the oesophagus (food tube) and stomach, belly swelling with fluid, kidney failure, severe confusion and coma. Treatments focus on the underlying cause(s). In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be required.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease is a serious health condition where fat accumulates in the liver and can lead to serious complications such as cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and other heart health issues.
There are two types of fatty liver disease:
Alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is caused by heavy alcohol consumption
Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease (MAFLD) which is caused by an increase in age, obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.
Hepatitis is a virus infection of your liver. It causes inflammation and liver damage, making it difficult for your liver to function as it should. All types of hepatitis are contagious, but you can reduce your risk by getting vaccinated for types A and B or taking other preventive steps, including practicing safe sex and not sharing needles. There are five types of hepatitis:
Hepatitis A is typically spread through contact with contaminated food or water. Symptoms may clear up without treatment, but recovery can take several weeks.
Hepatitis B can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It’s spread through bodily fluids, such as blood and semen. While hepatitis B is treatable, there is no cure for it. Early treatment is key to avoiding complications, so it’s best to get regular screenings if you’re at risk.
Hepatitis C can also be acute or chronic. It’s often spread through contact with blood from someone with hepatitis C. While it often doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages, it can lead to permanent liver damage in its later stages.
Hepatitis D is a serious form of hepatitis that only develops in people with hepatitis B — it can’t be contracted on its own. It can also be either acute or chronic.
Hepatitis E is usually caused by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated pork. Generally, it clears up on its own within a few weeks without any lasting complications.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer)
Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer. The risk of HCC is higher in people with long-term liver disease. Hepatocellular carcinoma occurs most often in people with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection. Hepatocellular carcinoma is also more common in people who drink large amounts of alcohol and who have MAFLD.
Hemochromatosis is a condition in which your body stores too much iron from the diet. It is genetic. The iron overload can cause serious damage to your body, including to your liver, heart, joints and pancreas. You can prevent the iron overload by early diagnosis and treatment with blood donation. This will prevent or reverse organ damage.
Liver failure occurs when your liver isn’t working well enough to perform its many functions (for example, manufacturing bile and ridding the body of harmful substances). This may be due to severe acute hepatitis, hepatitis B, drugs and other toxic substances. It may also be due to cirrhosis as scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and the liver loses its ability to function. Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and the other symptoms of end stage cirrhosis. Treatments include avoiding alcohol and other toxins and medical treatment of the symptoms. In severe cases liver transplant may be required.
Wilson disease is a relatively rare genetic disorder that prevents the body from eliminating copper. The build-up of copper damages certain organs including the liver, brain, blood count, kidneys and eyes. Wilson disease is fatal without medical treatment. There is no cure, but the condition can be managed. Late diagnosis may require liver transplantation.