Liver disease affects the function of your liver and can lead to life-threatening symptoms when left undiagnosed and untreated. Board-certified gastroenterologist Sandra Rodriguez, MD, at DLW Gastro Clinic in Homestead, Florida, specializes in liver disease and has advanced fellowship training in hepatology. For expert liver disease care, call the office today or use the online booking button to schedule an appointment.
Liver disease isn’t a single diagnosis, but an umbrella term that includes any condition that affects the structure or function of your liver.
Your liver is part of your gastrointestinal system and makes substances that help digest food and stores energy for later use. Your liver also filters out toxins from your blood and makes blood cells. The function of your liver is essential for life.
Many conditions cause liver disease. Some of the more common causes include:
Hepatitis A, B, and C are viruses that cause inflammation of the liver (hepatitis). Hepatitis A is acute and resolves on its own over time. Hepatitis B and C are chronic conditions that may not cause symptoms until you have permanent liver damage.
Hemochromatosis (liver stores too much iron) and Wilson’s disease (buildup of copper in the body) are inherited conditions that can damage the liver.
Some autoimmune disorders attack the liver, causing inflammation and damage.
Alcohol is toxic to the liver. Drinking too much alcohol leads to a buildup of fat in the liver that may lead to inflammation and scarring.
Some people have nonalcohol-related fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is a buildup of fat in the liver not related to alcohol.
You should see the gastroenterologist at DLW Gastro Clinic if you have signs and symptoms of liver disease or concerns about liver health. Signs and symptoms to look out for include:
The gastroenterologist reviews your symptoms and medical history and may run bloodwork to assess liver function and screen for viruses. They may also do imaging tests to look for signs of liver damage.
Treatment for liver disease depends on the type and cause. However, the gastroenterologist at DLW Gastro Clinic may recommend eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and abstaining from alcohol for all people with liver disease.
The gastroenterologist may also prescribe antiviral medication to clear up viral infections.
If you have permanent liver damage and end stage liver disease, they may recommend a liver transplant.
To learn more about liver disease, call DLW Gastro Clinic or book an appointment online today.