Quantcast

Liver Conditions

UAMS liver conditions

The liver, a reddish-brown organ located in the upper right-hand portion of the abdominal cavity, is responsible for many of the body’s vital functions. One such function is the production of bile, a digestive liquid that is made in the liver and breaks down fats, preparing them for further digestion and absorption in the body and secretion into the intestine. When this production is hindered, conditions can develop such as cholestatic liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and autoimmune hepatitis.

Cholestatic (Cholestatsis) Liver Disease

Cholestatic liver disease is a condition where bile cannot flow from the liver to the intestine because of abnormalities in the bile ducts. When the bile is obstructed, there is an accumulation of bile precursors in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of cholestatic liver disease can include but are not limited to:

  • Jaundice
  • Itching or pruritus
  • Pale stool
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Inability to digest certain foods

There can be many causes of cholestatic liver disease. Some of these causes can include but are not limited to: 

Treatments for cholestatic liver disease involve treating the underlying causes.  

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis is a rare form of chronic liver disease that causes the bile ducts in the liver to be become inflamed, damaged and even destroyed. This is usually due to an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Genetic factors may make a person prone to develop this condition considering it is more common in those who have a parent or sibling with the disease.

Many people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of the disease and some patients who show no symptoms at the time of diagnosis often remain symptom-free for years. The most common symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis include but are not limited to:

  • A general feeling of tiredness, or fatigue
  • Itching or pruritus
  • Fluid build-up in the ankles and abdomen
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Jaundice
  • Collection of fatty deposits in the skin around the eyes

Treatments can include relieving symptoms with vitamin supplements, prescription drugs and treating cirrhosis with a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol. Medication prescribed during the early stage of the disease may slow the liver damage. However, a liver transplant is the only treatment that will cure the condition.

Learn more about cirrhosis.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis causes damage and inhibits bile to flow in ducts inside and outside of the liver. Inflammation of the ducts leads to scarring and narrowing as bile builds up in the liver. This condition is usually diagnosed around age 40 and affects men twice as much as women. The exact causes of the condition are unknown. However, it may be related to bacterial or viral infections, immune system problems and genetic factors.

Many people may not experience symptoms when first diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis. Eventually, the build-up of bile can cause chronic liver disease, liver failure and thinning of the bones. The first signs of the condition can include but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Itching or pruritus
  • Jaundice
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Chills and fever

Treatments can include relieving symptoms with vitamin supplements and prescription drugs. If the liver begins to fail, a liver transplant is required.

Autoimmune Hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic liver condition where the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells causing inflammation that can eventually leads to cirrhosis and liver failure if not treated. There are two forms of this condition: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is the more common form that mostly affects young women and is often associated with other autoimmune diseases. Type 2 generally affects girls between the ages of 2 and 14. The causes of the condition are unknown, although heredity and prior infections may be related.

The most common symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis can include but are not limited to:

  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged liver
  • Jaundice
  • Itching or pruritus
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Abnormal blood vessels on the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool

If diagnosed early and with proper treatment, autoimmune hepatitis can be controlled with prescriptions drugs such as prednisone.

 

Recent Video

Contact Us

4301 West Markham Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205

501-686-7000

 Women's Health