Your liver works to filter the blood that flows from your digestive tract before allowing it to circulate through the rest of your body. However, your liver can become damaged due to infection, cancer, genetics, or poor life choices. Jonathan I. Warman, MD treats people with liver conditions and liver damage in and around the Upper East Side of New York City. If you have liver disease, call or book an appointment online today to discover your treatment options.
Liver Disease Q & A
What does the liver do?
The liver is a large, reddish-brown organ that lies just below your rib cage on the upper right side of your body. It is composed of four sections, called lobes, and works in concert with several nearby organs in your digestive tract.
The primary goal of the liver is to filter blood and help process food. The liver prevents toxins from circulating in your bloodstream. It also produces bile, which is used to digest fats.
What can cause liver disease?
Liver diseases can be genetic, or they can develop over time because of illness or lifestyle. Certain infections, like hepatitis and cancer, can lead to liver damage. Heavy drinking or obesity can also lead to liver disease.
When the liver becomes severely damaged after a protracted illness or abuse, scarring, also known as cirrhosis, can occur. This scarring can lead to liver failure and eventually death.
What are some symptoms of liver disease?
The trademark symptom of liver disease is yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. This condition is called jaundice, and it is caused by an excess buildup of bilirubin in your bloodstream.
Other symptoms of liver disease can include:
- Pain and swelling in the abdomen
- Swelling of the ankles and legs
- Bloody, pale, or dark stools
- Severe fatigue
- Vomiting or nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden bruising
How is liver disease diagnosed?
Several tests are used to diagnose liver disease, the most common of these being a blood test. Imaging studies of your liver, such as an ultrasound or MRI, may also be used to see if there’s anything out of the ordinary.
How is liver disease treated?
If you have liver disease, Dr. Warman will decide how best to treat you based on your diagnosis. You may be able to treat the disease by changing some habits, such as quitting alcohol.
Certain infections can be treated with antibiotics or other medications. Liver disease that has progressed may require surgery or a liver transplant.
If you have symptoms of liver disease, call or book an appointment online today to see Dr. Warman for a full evaluation.