There are over 100 different types of liver disease. However, most still progress and cause damage in similar ways. Those who have liver disease don’t know it first since they don’t look or feel sick until the later stages. You can’t live without your liver and knowing if you’re at risk is the best chance you have of early intervention and getting your health back on track. Here are 4 common risk factors you need to know about.
If your family has any history of liver disease, you are at an elevated risk. Hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency are rare genetic conditions that damage the liver. Any history, whether it’s genetic or not, should be evaluated by your doctor.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Fatty liver disease causes excessive accumulation of fat in the liver. Since the liver filters everything that goes into our bodies, poor diet, obesity, and diabetes are the main culprits of NAFLD. When there is too much fat in the liver, our immune system triggers inflammation to reduce the levels.
Over time, chronic inflammation (hepatitis) will begin to damage the liver and scar (fibrosis) it. The NASH stage is where advanced cell damage occurs. If not treated, the cirrhosis stage follows, where liver function is affected.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) follows the same path as the non-alcoholic version, except the cause is too much alcohol. AFLD can begin with as little as four drinks per day for men and two for women.
Hepatitis viruses are viruses that infect the liver. The two most common are hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis is the largest risk factor for liver cancer worldwide. Hepatitis C is more prevalent than hepatitis B because there is no for hepatitis C.
Know the Risk, then Act
If you are at risk, talk with your doctor about including your liver enzymes in your annual checkup. When caught early, the liver can regenerate itself with course corrections of diet and lifestyle changes. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear; get checked immediately.
Clinical Pharmacology of Miami is offering a FREE fibroscan to check your liver health. A fibroscan is a quick, painless way to determine if you have scarring, fatty liver, or other liver diseases. If your results show liver impairment, our team will discuss our upcoming studies looking into potential new options for those with liver disease. Request your FREE fibroscan today by visiting our webpage or calling (305) 817-2900 to learn more.