This article talks about the causes as well as the treatment options to get rid of an enlarged liver. Read on to know more…
Liver is a large glandular organ located on the right side of the upper abdominal cavity. It plays a crucial role in many complicated functions of our body. Some major liver functions include various metabolic processes, making of digestive bile juice, detoxification of the body, etc. In an enlarged liver condition, the organ becomes bigger than its usual size. This is also referred to as hepatomegaly. It is not a disease in itself but a possible symptom of liver diseases and many other health disorders.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is a condition which arises due to excessive consumption of alcohol. The consumed alcohol is metabolized in the liver. When it is taken in a large amount, then the liver fails to metabolize it completely and this leads to liver enlargement.
- In fatty liver disease, accumulation of fat inside the liver is responsible for enlarged liver. It can happen due to both alcoholic fat as well as non-alcoholic fat. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is mostly found in diabetic patients and obese people.
- Viral infections in liver that lead to hepatitis A, B or C are characterized by inflammation of the cells in the liver which makes the organ larger.
- Enlarged liver may develop due to some heart problems as well. For instance, in congestive heart failure, the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood which often causes an enlarged liver.
- Besides, it can be a symptom of a serious disease like liver cancer.
- In some cases, both the liver and the spleen become enlarged together. This condition is known as hepatosplenomegaly. It could be because of liver cirrhosis where the healthy tissues of liver are replaced by scarred tissue. This in turn affects the blood flow to the liver resulting in this kind of liver and spleen problem.
- Other causes include diseases such as chronic hepatitis C infection, leukemia, sickle cell anemia and so on.
In many cases, an enlarged liver goes undetected as there are no specific signs of an enlarged liver. If the liver stops its normal functioning, then it can lead to jaundice which can be identified as yellowing of the skin and white part of the eyes. Doctors diagnose the problem by physical examination of the patient as the area is tender to touch when it becomes large. Then, various laboratory tests including an X-ray, CT scan and ultra sound are conducted. Sometimes, blood tests and biopsies may also be required. The treatment is based on the underlying cause.
People with alcohol abuse must stop alcohol intake completely. Hepatitis is treated with suitable medicines that can reduce the inflammation in the cells. Heart failure is treated with medicines and limiting the intake of sodium. If the cause of the fatty liver disease is obesity, then the patient has to lose weight with exercise and proper diet. Diabetic patients have to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Liver cancer or leukemia may need to be treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
As you can see, when the liver gets enlarged, it leads to a lot of health complications. Therefore, it is important to reduce the chances of its occurrence. Most of the reasons for an enlarged liver can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy body weight. It is possible by eating healthy foods, doing regular exercises, limiting intake of alcohol and avoiding smoking.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.