Multaq Attorney : Liver diseases do have a few hallmark symptoms that will alert doctors to a problem, but many do not present themselves until irreparable damage has already occurred. Jaundice is a clear sign of possible liver disease. Encephalopathy, or mental confusion, could be a signal of a liver disorder. Pruritus, or severe itching, is another symptom that would prompt a doctor to run liver tests, as it can be present in any liver disease in which cholestasis, or a blockage of bile flow, has occurred.
Oyster lovers relish the taste of the plump, juicy shellfish. But if you have been diagnosed with a liver disease, beware. The same conditions that create those succulent treats are also perfect for a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus, which thrives only in warm coastal waters where fine oysters are harvested. In most people, the infection would probably cause a stomachache, vomiting, and perhaps diarrhea. In patients with chronic liver disease, however, the Vibrio Infection can kill.
Scientists are not sure why liver patients have such a bad reaction to Vibrio, but they believe It Is related to the high levels of Iron in a liver patient’s blood, which blocks their white blood cells’ Infection-fighting abilities. The Immune system in liver patients isn’t up to the task of fighting off this particular bacterium. Vibrios are, therefore, free to move into the bloodstream and multiply, overwhelming white blood cells and often causing the patient to suffer from septicemia (blood poisoning), a condition that only 50 percent of victims survive.
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Contrary to popular myth, the liver cannot regrow like a lilac bush that has been cut back. At least, not exactly.
If less than 60 percent of a healthy liver is removed, the remaining portion of the organ can expand, filling its former space until it reaches its original weight, and the entire liver can function normally, provided that the remaining 40 percent was not heavily scarred. This is what happens in many liver transplants. A healthy, living organ donor will donate part of his or her liver, and both the original and transplanted portions will expand and function normally.
By contrast, if the same surgical procedure was performed on an extensively scarred or cirrhotic liver, the diseased liver would not regenerate. In fact, the stress of the surgery would likely cause the liver to quit working properly and yellow jaundice to develop, and the abdomen would fill with ascetic fluid.
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|Hepatitis is probably the most misunderstood of the liver diseases. The term itself means “inflammation of the liver.” And it is occurring in epidemic numbers: according to the World Health Organization, hepatitis infects more than 500 million people worldwide and kills some 15,000 people in this country each year. How hepatitis presents itself depends on what caused the disorder. Autoimmune hepatitis and alcoholic hepatitis will be discussed in later sections. In this chapter, we deal with “alphabet hepatitis/’ otherwise known as viral hepatitis, or hepatitis caused by a virus. Only this form of hepatitis can be transmitted to other humans.|
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