Scripps transplant hepatologist Dr. Catherine Frenette discusses liver disease causes, symptoms and treatment. Learn more: 0:02 – What is …
– Liver disease is anything
that causes irritation or
inflammation in the liver
that then can result in scar
tissue formation in the liver.
As more and more scar
tissue forms in the liver,
then you can develop cirrhosis
which basically means end-stage
scar tissue in the liver
where the liver now is no
longer smooth and nice and red.
It's sort of lumpy,
bumpy, and gravely almost
that then prevents it
from functioning properly.
There are many causes of liver disease.
We all think of alcohol as the cause
but that's only one of
a multitude of causes
and it's not even the most common cause.
There are viruses called
hepatitis or Hepatitis B,
Hepatitis C that causes liver disease
and then probably the most
common liver disease right now
is fatty liver, where
patients can actually get fat
in the liver that then
can result in irritation
and inflammation and then
scar tissue development.
I always think of the liver
as being a very forgiving organ
and the problem with that is that
people don't often get symptoms
until the liver is very advanced.
Once people have more
advanced liver disease,
then they can develop symptoms
like yellow eyes or yellow skin.
They can develop swelling in their legs
or swelling and fluid
buildup in their abdomen
that's called ascites fluid.
They also can have toxins
build up in their body
that can actually get into their brain
and make them confused
or forgetful or shaky
as some of the advanced symptoms.
Treating liver disease really centers
on treating whatever it is
that's irritating the liver.
For instance, if someone has Hepatitis C,
we wanna treat Hepatitis C.
If someone drinks alcohol,
we want them to stop drinking alcohol,
so whatever the cause
of the liver disease is,
we first attack the cause,
which then will allow the
liver to start to heal itself
because the liver can be
a very forgiving organ
and actually repair some
of the damage that's done.
If the liver gets too much damage
with the cirrhosis and lumpy
bumpy scar tissue in the liver,
then it can get to a point
where it no longer is going to heal itself
and at that point,
we may need to think
about a liver transplant
or replacing the liver with a healthy one.

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