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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Other/metabolic diseases


What are autoimmune liver disorders?
An autoimmune disorder is any reaction or attack of a person's immune system against its own organs and tissues. In the liver, the immune system can destroy liver cells and damage bile ducts. Chronic hepatitis can be caused by an autoimmune disorder.


What are metabolic liver disorders?
Two main metabolic disorders affect the liver:
  • Hemochromatosis - the absorption of too much iron from food. The excess iron is stored throughout the body, including in the liver and pancreas. This excess iron can damage these organs. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease that can lead to liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

  • Wilson's Disease - the retention of too much copper in the liver. Instead of releasing the copper into the bile, the liver retains the copper. Eventually the damaged liver releases copper into the bloodstream. This hereditary disease can cause damage to the kidneys, brain and eyes, and lead to severe brain damage, liver failure and death.

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