What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Inflammation
An inflamed liver, hepatomegaly or liver inflammation, occurs when the organ becomes larger than normal. It is a very serious condition as inflammation may derive by a more serious disease, such as any of the hepatitis viruses. Unfortunately it is not easy to identify such condition as during the early stages of liver inflammation symptoms are hardly noticed, they appear as liver failure progresses. However, there are some signs and symptoms that can help us establish if we suffer hepatomegaly. In this OneHowTo article we want to help expand your knowledge on this matter and explain what are the symptoms of liver inflammation.
The liver is one of the most important organs in our body since it is responsible for converting food into energy, remove toxins from the blood and regulate the levels of amino acids and fats, among many other functions. It is the largest of all organs and inflammation can have serious consequences, so it is essential to take care of it and make sure it functions properly.
As the liver fulfils so many functions and is involved in so many processes in our body it is not surprising that the causes of liver inflammation are also varied. The main factors that can cause hepatomegaly are:
- Excessive alcohol consumption where the liver can not longer remove this substance properly, leading to inflammation of the organ
- Infection by any of the hepatitis viruses, Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E. These always cause liver inflammation
- Other viral infections such as infectious mononucleosis or bacterial or cytomegalovirus infections may also cause inflammation of the liver.
- Intoxication produced by drugs will also trigger liver inflammation
- Other causes may be Niemann-Pick disease, primary bile cirrhosis , Reye's syndrome or sarcoidosis or sclerosing cholangitis
- Fatty liver is another anomaly which, if untreated, can also lead to inflammation of the liver.
- Finally, it should be noted that the appearance of a tumour metastases or leukemia can also cause hepatomegaly
During the early days of liver inflammation it is likely that you will not notice any symptoms in the body or rarities related to the liver. However, as time progresses these will become increasingly evident. In general, early symptoms are similar to the flu, a generalised ill feeling, low fever, muscle pain and nausea.
As time passes symptoms increase and intensify. Hepatomegaly usually causes jaundice that is when the skin becomes yellowish (eyes can also turn yellow). Vomiting and diarrhoea are some of the most common symptoms of inflamed liver.
Being an inflammation, it is also likely that you will notice the abdomen to be slightly swollen at first and as the days progress it will enlarge. Furthermore, abdominal pain is another consequence of this condition.
The colour of dreg is another factor that you should consider if you suspect that your liver is inflamed, because this anomaly makes it become clearer or even white. This happens especially when the cause of inflammation is from one of the hepatitis viruses. Remember that hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Due to this, urine may become darker than its normal colour and sufferers may have a constant bitter taste in the mouth as well as bad breath.
These are the most common symptoms of inflamed liver but, depending on the cause, few or even no symptoms may be displayed. It is therefore important to take yearly exams if you have any of the risk factors, such as suffering chronically from one of the mentioned diseases, alcoholism or taking too much medication.
If you notice some of the mentioned symptoms you must go to your doctor immediately to take the relevant tests and confirm or rule out liver inflammation. Remember that many of the causes are serious diseases, so you may have contracted one and still do not know.
To detect hepatomegaly doctors will first feel the area below the ribs, if the inflammation is severe he or she will notice immediately, and then perform an abdominal x-ray to observe whether the liver is enlarged. If there is evidence of enlargement the doctor can do an ultrasound to confirm. If confirmed, an x-ray computed tomography will be carried out to establish the causes of the inflammation as well as liver function tests and an MRI of the abdomen to confirm the results of the scan.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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