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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Liver Glossary

Alcoholic Liver Disease

An acute or chronic inflammation of the liver induced by drinking excessive alcohol.

bacteremia

The presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.

cholangitis

Inflammation of the bile ducts.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver is scarring and hardening of the liver. The scar tissue blocks blood flow to the liver and prevents it from working properly.

Congenital

Present at birth. A condition that is congenital is one that is present at birth. It may be the result of either heredity or environmental factors.

Elevated Liver Enzyme

Liver enzymes are substances produced by the liver. When the liver is injured, these enzyme levels can be higher than normal.

Fatty Liver

A build-up of excess fat in liver cells

Hepatitis

An inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis A

An inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is transmitted when fecal matter from someone who has the disease is ingested, either directly or via food or water contaminated with the fecal matter.

Hepatitis B

An inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and infected bodily fluids. It is spread through unprotected sex; through sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person; through living in a household with an infected person; from an infected mother to her newborn child at birth; via unsterilized needles, including tattoo or piercing needles; through sharing IV drug needles; and through human bites.

Hepatitis C

An inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is transmitted primarily through direct exposure to infected blood through an opening in the skin or mucous membrane. The hepatitis C virus infects the liver, causing inflammation that results in damage to liver tissue.

Hepatitis D

An inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). Hepatitis D can only occur along with hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis E

An inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is transmitted when fecal matter from someone who has the disease is ingested, either directly or via food or water contaminated with the fecal matter. It is uncommon in the United States.

Interferon

Interferon is a small protein. It is a natural substance that helps the body protect itself from foreign invaders. Manufactured interferon is FDA-approved for the treatment of viral hepatitis.

Jaundice

A yellowing of body tissues, including the skin and the white of the eyes. It is caused by increased formation of bilirubin or by problems excreting excess bilirubin from the body.

Liver

Your liver is one of the largest and most important organs in your body. It stores vitamins, sugars, fats, and other nutrients from the food you eat. It builds chemicals that your body needs to stay healthy, breaks down harmful substances like alcohol and other toxic (poisonous) chemicals, and removes waste products from your blood.

Liver Cancer

Cancer of the liver can result from diseases such as hepatitis B and C, alcohol abuse, exposure to chemicals, or birth defects. Cancer can also spread to the liver from cancers in other parts of the body.

sepsis

A severe illness caused by overwhelming infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria. Symptoms may include fever, chills, malaise (generally feeling "rotten"), low blood pressure, and mental status changes. Sepsis can be life-threatening, requiring urgent care. Treatment depends on the type of infection, but usually begins with antibiotics or similar medications. Also known as blood poisoning, septicemia.

Viral hepatitis

An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Researchers have identified many types of viral hepatitis. Each is caused by a different virus.

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