The liver is considered to be the largest gland of the human body. Liver performs important functions like breaking down complex carbohydrates and proteins, facilitates the absorption of fat from the intestines through secretion of bile juices, and detoxifies the body from impurities. Liver inflammation is a common condition which causes inflammation of liver tissue which not only results in enlargement of the liver but also significantly affects its functions.
Causes of Inflamed Liver
Liver inflammation can occur due to several factors. The most common factors are as follows:
- Viral infection is a very common cause of liver inflammation. Hepatitis A and C are the common viral infections affecting the liver.
- Another form of hepatitis is called alcoholic hepatitis which often occurs among heavy drinkers as prolonged exposure to alcohol inflames the liver. This is primarily attributed to the alcoholic metabolites which can damage the liver cells.
- Liver inflammation can also be a side effect of prolonged drug use, often depending on the dosage of the medicinal or recreational drug and the period of time for which they are taken.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals or toxins also increases the risk of liver inflammation .
- Bacterial infections add to the factors that cause liver inflammation.
- Poor dietary considerations including increase intake of fatty foods and lower intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can result in inflammation of the liver.
How to Treat an Inflamed Liver
Treatment of liver inflammation varies depending on the cause of the inflammation. With the help of liver function test, or LFT, the cause of the inflammation can be ascertained. A ultrasound report can also help in understanding the condition of the liver.
- Liver inflammation caused by acute viral hepatitis can be treated by slowing down the daily activities and adjust the diet in order to improve the condition. The diet should comprise of easily digestable foods and should be low in fats.
- An inflamed liver caused by serious viral infections such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can be treated by taking prescribed anti viral medication. A popular herbal tonic called milk thistle can also be used.
- Alcoholic hepatitis can be treated by completely stopping the consumption of alcohol.
- Hepatitis caused by prolonged drug medication can be treated by changing the drug being used after consulting with a medical doctor.
- One must drink sufficient water in order to help flush away the toxins from the system. Fresh fruit juices, vegetable soups, etc are considered to be healthy options.
If the condition of inflamed liver is prolonged without proper treatment, the condition could lead to a more serious issue wherein damaged liver cells will create scarring in the liver tissues. When liver tissues start to scar, the scarred part will no longer function normally and putting more work load for the healthy tissues. Liver inflammation should be treated as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming liver cirrhosis, which is a damaged state that is irreversible.