Liver Disease Awareness Month: How to Prevent Liver Disease


Posted By Author on November 15, 2022

healthcare professionals supporting acts to prevent liver disease, liver disease awareness

About one in 10 Americans suffer from some type of liver disease, with several factors putting some patients at a higher risk. Inherited conditions, weight, alcohol consumption, and infections may play a role, causing chronic liver disease or cirrhosis in approximately 5.5 million Americans. Despite the push for prevention, chronic liver disease is on the rise. 

Liver Disease Awareness Month is a great time to prioritize your health and make sure you’re doing all you can to prevent disease!

Read on to learn more about different types of liver disease and to find out which symptoms to watch out for.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact a gastroenterologist near you today!

What Are The Different Types Of Liver Disease?

Liver disease is a fairly broad term that refers to issues that cause damage or inflammation of the liver. Some common types of liver disease include the following:  

  • Hepatitis: Causes inflammation of the liver and comes in three forms: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C. This condition is the most common type of liver infection.
  • Liver cancer: Cancer that originates in the liver cells.
  • Jaundice: An excess of bilirubin in the liver that appears as a yellowish tint to the skin and whites of the eyes. 
  • Fatty liver disease: A buildup of fat within the liver that may result in liver cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis: Occurs when healthy liver tissue is taken over by scar tissue, decreasing the liver’s overall function.
  • Bile duct diseases: Cause bile duct blockages and prevent proper flow. These diseases may include cancer, infections, and gallstones.

Causes of Liver Disease

Because there are various types of liver diseases, there is also a wide spectrum of causes. Here are a few of the more common ones:

  • Viral infections: Some conditions, like viral hepatitis, are caused by a virus.
  • Genetics: Inherited genetics conditions like Wilson disease and hemochromatosis may result in liver disease.
  • Cancer: If abnormal liver cells multiply, tumors may develop and cause liver cancer or bile duct cancer. 
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Overconsumption of alcohol and other toxins may result in alcoholic fatty liver disease. 
  • Obesity or overconsumption of fat: Eating a fatty diet or failing to maintain a healthy weight may result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Immune system abnormality: Autoimmune diseases (when your immune system attacks your body) can impact your liver function and cause autoimmune liver diseases. Examples include autoimmune hepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

These risk factors have been shown to increase your risk of developing liver disease:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Family history of liver disease
  • Drug use with shared needles
  • Unprotected sex
  • Exposure to other people’s blood and body fluids
  • Blood transfusion before 1992
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins

Symptoms

Keep an eye out for these liver disease symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Leg and ankle swelling
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark urine 
  • Pale stools

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms, contact Charleston GI today. Our board certified gastroenterologists near you are equipped to diagnose liver diseases and provide much-needed relief.  If you are suffering from severe abdominal pain or persistent nausea or vomiting, seek emergency medical attention.  

How To Improve Liver Health 

Unhealthy living and bad habits can lead to irreversible liver damage, and eventually liver failure, if lifestyle changes are not put in place. While some conditions are genetic, many can be improved by implementing some simple practices, like these:

  • Drink proper amounts of water.  
  • Limit alcohol use (or abstain completely). 
  • Maintain a healthy weight through a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
  • Use only medications prescribed to you, and never mix them with alcohol.
  • Keep your diet free of foods that are very high in fat, salt, and sugar.
  • Add high-fiber foods to your daily diet. 
  • Wash produce thoroughly to remove pesticides. 
  • Always practice safe sex.
  • Avoid drug use.
  • Use extra caution when getting a piercing or tattoo.
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Avoid contact with other people’s blood and body fluids. 

At our GI center, our Charleston GI doctors can help diagnose the problem and provide a customized plan to integrate these healthy habits into your everyday life. Schedule an appointment to get started!

Get Liver Disease Treatment in Charleston GI!

Liver disease affects about 30 million Americans, so if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you are not alone. Contact your trusted gastroenterologists at Charleston GI today! From diagnosis to treatment, we’ve got you covered – and there’s no referral needed.

We have offices throughout the Charleston, SC area to better serve you –in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mount Pleasant, and West Ashley. Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief.

So if you’re looking for a gastroenterologist near me, visit Charleston GI! Schedule your appointment today!

More Helpful Gastrointestinal Blogs


READY TO VISIT? SUMMERVILLE | CARNES CROSSROADS | MT PLEASANT | CHARLESTON