Types of Liver Disease
Liver disease is an umbrella term that can describe dozens of conditions that negatively impact liver function. The liver is the largest organ inside the body and performs several important jobs, such as filtering out toxins from the digestive system and turning food into energy. Liver diseases can affect people of any age and may be chronic (gradually developing) or acute (sudden onset).
While there are dozens of liver diseases, Tampa General Hospital’s Liver Disease and Hepatology Program provides leading-edge care for them all. Our hepatology specialists cater to adults in all stages of their journey, from diagnosis through recovery, and excel in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, including liver transplantation. Because we’re a hospital that treats a high volume of liver disease patients, our specialists possess an unrivaled level of experience addressing even the most complex and uncommon liver diseases.
What Causes Liver Disease?
Liver problems can be categorized by their causes. For example, a liver disease may be brought on by:
Some of the most common liver diseases are hepatitis A, B and C, which are viral infections that cause liver inflammation. The viruses responsible for hepatitis can be spread through contaminated medical equipment and food or through sexual contact.
Hemochromatosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and Wilson’s disease are liver diseases that are caused by gene mutations from one or both parents.
An autoimmune disorder
Autoimmune disorders are diseases that affect immune system function. This can also trigger immune system problems, including primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
Being overweight and having a poor diet can lead to fatty liver disease, and drinking alcohol in excess can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and other liver problems. Several other factors can also contribute to liver disease, such as diabetes, frequent exposure to certain chemicals and improper medication use.
Cancerous or noncancerous growths
Cancer can develop in the liver and its bile ducts, sometimes as a result of chronic liver diseases. Polycystic liver disease (PLD) is another type of liver problem that causes noncancerous, fluid-filled sacs (cysts) to develop throughout the liver.
How is Liver Disease Treated?
If you’ve received a liver disease diagnosis, your ideal course of treatment will vary according to your specific condition, symptoms and other factors like your age and overall health. Many liver diseases can be effectively managed or even reversed with medication, medical monitoring and healthy lifestyle changes like losing excess weight and avoiding alcohol. In other cases, surgery may be performed to remove a damaged portion of the liver or a stent may be inserted to improve bile duct drainage. Liver transplantation may be appropriate if you have a late-stage condition or if other treatments have been exhausted without success.
TGH provides a full spectrum of liver disease treatment and does not require referrals. In fact, you can start the referral process yourself. Whether you’re simply interested in our approach to liver disease or would like a second opinion, we encourage you to contact a TGH physician using our Physician Finder or call TGH’s Liver Disease and Hepatology Program at 1-800-505-7769.