Summary: Discover the warning signs and symptoms of liver disease so you may help protect this vital organ and reduce your risk of future liver failure.
As the temperature cools down and you start anticipating the excitement of autumn, it is just as imperative to turn your focus toward your health, including one of the most essential and integral portions of the body — the liver. This organ is responsible for aiding in the digestive process, turning that food into energy, and extracting harmful materials from your system so that you can stay healthy and well.
By and large, the liver is an essential organ that carries out a variety of functions, enabling you to enjoy optimal health. October is Liver Disease Awareness Month. As such, it serves as a helpful reminder to pay attention to the health of your liver and ask questions such as: "How do I know if I have liver disease?" or "What steps can I take to elevate my liver health?" The gastrointestinal specialists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center are ready to answer these questions and can help ensure you get the best care possible for your liver health. Read on as our Jackson, MS team provides further information surrounding conditions that impact the liver.
What are the different forms of liver disease?
The general term "liver disease" relates to medical issues that cause inflammation in or harm the liver. Liver disease is not any one specific "condition" but rather an umbrella term to refer to the group of conditions that may affect this organ. The causes of the different types of liver issues may vary as well. Certain liver conditions result from excessive alcohol intake or infectious agents such as viruses, and others could be caused by excess bilirubin present in the liver. Liver disease includes a range of conditions, including:
- Jaundice – Excess bilirubin in the liver causes the white areas of the eyes and the skin to have a yellowish hue.
- Bile duct diseases – Such conditions cause blockage in the bile ducts and impede the flow of bile. Bile duct diseases can consist of:
- Birth defects (such as biliary atresia)
- Inflammation (which leads to scarring and can cause liver failure)
- Hepatitis – This involves an inflammatory issue of the liver.
- Fatty liver disease – A condition that develops when fat has built up inside the liver. Fatty liver disease may lead to cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis – Healthy areas of liver tissue are replaced with scar tissue, resulting in decreased liver function.
Given the vast differences in these diseases, it is recommended to connect with a skilled gastroenterologist to identify the cause of your liver concerns so that the ideal treatment strategy can be developed for your needs.
What are the signs of liver disease?
Despite that varying liver issues can have different causes, a number of signs and symptoms of liver disease are often the same. It is imperative to be evaluated by a gastrointestinal specialist at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, so an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can be identified. Signs of liver disease are:
- Dark urine
- Itchy skin
- Yellowish color to the skin and white portions of the eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal swelling and pain
- Decreased appetite
Should you present with any of these signs or symptoms mentioned here, please get in touch with one of our GI doctors in Jackson, MS to arrange for an appointment.
What can be done to elevate my liver health?
When receiving care from a gastroenterologist for a liver condition, you may be given personalized instructions to address your specific concerns. However, there are a few helpful tips that every individual should consider to elevate their liver function and health. These tips involve:
- Avoid or limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks.
- Consume plenty of water.
- Eat fiber-rich foods.
- Avoid foods with high levels of sugar, salt, and fat.
- Maintain a balanced diet.
Learn more about liver disease treatment in Jackson, MS
Since approximately 1 out of 10 individuals in the United States is impacted by some variation of liver disease, you or a member of your family may need help finding treatment for a liver condition. In honor of October being Liver Disease Awareness Month, we encourage you to contact GI Associates & Endoscopy Center to arrange for a consultation and learn how we can address your liver issue or what you can do to prevent this disease. For those already experiencing signs or symptoms of liver disease, our Jackson, MS digestive health specialists can listen to your concerns, render a diagnosis, and formulate an ideal treatment plan to help improve your health.