Drug-induced liver disease
Liver cells may become temporarily inflamed or permanently damaged by exposure to medications or drugs. Some medications or drugs require an overdose to cause liver injury while others may cause the damage even when taken in the appropriately prescribed dosage.
Taking excess amounts of acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol) can cause liver failure. This is the reason that warning labels exist on many over-the-counter medications that contain acetaminophen and why prescription narcotic-acetaminophen combination medications (for example, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Tylenol #3) limit the numbers of tablets to be taken in a day. For patients with underlying liver disease or those who abuse alcohol, that daily limit is lower and acetaminophen may be contra-indicated in those individuals.
Statins are drugs commonly prescribed to control elevated blood levels of cholesterol. Even when taken in the appropriately prescribed dose, liver inflammation may occur. This inflammation can be detected by blood tests that measure liver enzymes. Stopping the medication usually results in return of the liver function to normal.
Niacin is another medication used to control elevated blood levels of cholesterol, but liver inflammation with this medication is related to the dose taken. Similarly, patients with underlying liver disease may be at higher risk of developing liver disease due to medications such as niacin. Recent studies have found that niacin may not be as effective as previously thought in controlling high cholesterol. Patients who take niacin may want to see their health care professional to determine if other treatment options may be appropriate.
There are numerous other medications that may cause liver inflammation, most of which will resolve when the medication is stopped.
The term "hepatitis" means inflammation, and liver cells can become inflamed because of infection.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that is spread primarily through the fecal-oral route when small amounts of infected fecal matter are inadvertently ingested. Hepatitis A causes an acute inflammation of the liver which generally resolves spontaneously. The hepatitis A vaccine can prevent this infection. Thorough hand washing, especially when preparing food is the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A. This is especially important for workers who work in the food and restaurant industries.
Hepatitis B is spread by exposure to body fluids (needles from drug abusers, contaminated blood, and sexual contact) and can cause an acute infection, but can also progress to cause chronic inflammation (chronic hepatitis) that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine can prevent this infection.
Hepatitis C causes chronic hepatitis. An infected individual may not recall any acute illness. Hepatitis C is spread by exposure to body fluids (needles from drug abusers, contaminated blood, and some forms of sexual contact). Chronic hepatitis C may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. At present, there is no vaccine against this virus. There is a recommendation to test all people born between 1945 and 1965 for Hepatitis C antibody to identify people who do not know that they have contracted the disease. Newer medications are now available to treat and potentially cure Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis D is a virus that requires concomitant infection with hepatitis B to survive, and is spread via body fluid exposure (needles from drug abusers, contaminated blood, and sexual contact).
Hepatitis E is a virus that is spread via exposure to contaminated food and water.
The precise diagnosis of liver disease involves a history and physical examination performed by a health care professional. Understanding the symptoms and the patient's risk factors for liver disease will help guide any diagnostic tests that may be considered.
Sometimes history is difficult, especially in patients who abuse alcohol. These patients tend to minimize their consumption, and it is often family members who are able to provide the correct information.
Liver disease can have physical findings that affect almost all body systems including the heart, lungs, abdomen, skin, brain and cognitive function, and other parts of the nervous system. The physical examination often requires evaluation of the entire body.
Blood tests are helpful in assessing liver inflammation and function.
Specific liver function blood tests include:
AST and ALT ( transaminase chemicals released with liver cell inflammation);
GGT and alkaline phosphatase (chemicals released by cells lining the bile ducts);
protein and albumin levels.
Your liver is one of the largest internal organs with a fully loaded to-do list. It is the production house of bile which is responsible for digesting your food and absorbing nutrition. Your liver also regulates the amount of fats, proteins and sugars in your blood. It is the hero of the metabolic process so it works tirelessly to remove wastes and toxins from your system.
With so many things to look after, it is but natural that it is also prone to malfunction just like any other machine. The three most common liver diseases are:
Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E (jaundice)
While there are others, our article will provide you with herbal remedies to cure these three conditions. If you observe liver disease symptoms outlined below follow these natural remedies for liver disease.
A gallbladder attack happens because of inflammation and irritation of the gallbladder. Called cholecystitis, gallbladder attacks occur because of the presence of an infection or gallstones in the gallbladder or from damage to the bile ducts that drain the gallbladdder. Cholecystitis may become an acute condition with a sudden onset or it can become a chronic health problem. Remedies for gallbladder attacks involve diet and lifestyle modifications, medications and surgery.
Low Fat Diet
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIDDK, an important remedy for gallbladder attacks is a low fat diet. The consumption of fat causes an increase in the production of bile which, in a diseased gallbladder, increases biliary spasm and pain symptoms. Donna D. Ignatavicius, MS RN, and M. Linda Workman, PhD, authors of “Medical-Surgical Nursing: Critical Thinking for Collaborative Care”, emphasize the importance of sufficient protein intake along with adherence to a low fat diet. Adequate protein prevents the formation of certain gallstones. Gallstones are a frequent cause of gallbladder attacks. People with gallbladder disease should confer with a physician or nutritionist to establish an appropriate diet that meets individual needs.
The NIDDK report that a direct link exists between obesity and cholecystitis. One possible reason for this connection purports that in overweight people the amount of bile salts in bile is reduced, leading to elevated cholesterol levels. High cholesterol slows gallbladder emptying and increases gallstone formation. A low fat diet and regular exercise help control weight and cholesterol levels.
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