In the UK, liver disease is on the increase. Three of the main causes of liver disease are: obesity, undiagnosed hepatitis infection and alcohol misuse. These causes of liver disease are all preventable. Listed below are some specific types of liver disease.
- Alcohol-related liver disease – where the liver is damaged after years of alcohol misuse, this can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – a build-up of fat within liver cells, usually seen in overweight people or those who are obese.
- Hepatitis – which is inflammation (swelling) of the liver caused by a viral infection or exposure to harmful substances such as alcohol.
It’s important to note that all types of liver disease can cause cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), not just alcohol-related liver disease. Liver disease doesn't usually cause any obvious signs or symptoms until it's fairly advanced and the liver is damaged. At this stage, possible symptoms can include loss of appetite, weight loss and jaundice. (NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/liver-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx)
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