Major Types of Liver Diseases
Medically, hepatitis is "inflammation of the liver," and it can lead to ultimate liver damage or failure. The most common cause of hepatitis is a group of viruses called the hepatitis viruses. These are assigned A to E, and the hepatitis B virus causes most of the infections through out the world. It can also have a large number of other causes, including excessive alcohol consumption, toxins in the blood, untoward reaction to certain medicines, poor circulation, pregnancy, and certain autoimmune conditions and hereditary conditions.
Cirrhosis is caused by other types of chronic liver diseases. Cirrhosis of the liver is the formation of fibrous scar tissue in the liver, stopping normal blood flow through the organ and ruining its function. In most cases the harm to the liver induced by cirrhosis cannot be inverted, and treatment for this situation consists of stopping or delaying progression. Cirrhosis has many possible causes, but is mostly due to enduring alcoholism, fatty liver disease, hepatitis B and C. Tobacco smoking and certain drugs also contribute to cirrhosis.
The other liver diseases are hereditary diseases such as hemochromatosis, Gilbert's syndrome, and Wilson's disease; cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma; autoimmune disorders like sclerosing cholangitis and biliary cirrhosis; and many more.
Most of the liver diseases are interlinked; for instance, chronic hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis while hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, can be caused by hepatitis B or C infections or by chronic cirrhosis. Liver function tests are a range of clinical blood tests used to get information of the state of a patient's liver. These tests depend on examining the presence of enzymes that are most ample in liver tissue.
The American Liver Foundation is committed to assisting Americans living with liver diseases and gives easy to understand brochures educating people about the common liver diseases and the treatments available. Tips and guides on maintaining a healthy liver can be found at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases website.