In addition to treating the digestive tract, Gastroenterology also entails treating liver diseases, which can be life threatening. As the largest internal organ in your body, the liver plays a major role in a number of vitally important metabolic, functional, and detoxification processes, including the production of bile. Bile is then stored in your gallbladder and travels to the small intestine after you eat to help break down food for digestion.
The liver also metabolizes any toxins, alcohol, nutrients, and medications it receives from your digestive tract and kills germs that enter your body through your intestines. With such important responsibilities, a healthy liver is necessary for survival.
The liver is unique in that it can regenerate itself. If part of the liver is removed, it can regrow tissue. However, if the liver is severely damaged, it cannot regenerate its own cells and needs to be replaced.
Many types of liver disease can take years to develop, typically without any symptoms. Oftentimes patients don’t know they have liver disease until it’s in the advanced stages. Others may be diagnosed with liver disease while being evaluated for another condition.
When present, symptoms of liver disease may include:
- Weakness / fatigue
- Loss of appetite / weight loss
- Nausea / vomiting
- Abdominal pain and bloating when fluid accumulates in the abdomen
- Spider-like blood vessels on the skin
- Portal hypertension, or high blood pressure in the portal vein, which carries blood from the stomach, intestines, spleen, gallbladder, and pancreas to the liver
- Fluid buildup in the feet, ankles, or legs (edema) or in the abdomen (ascites)
- Bruising and bleeding
At Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, our Board-Certified, fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists are experts at diagnosing and treating all types of liver conditions, such as:
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
- Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Severe liver damage can cause liver failure. If you are at risk for a liver condition or experience any unusual symptoms, call Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We can be reached at (717) 245-2228 or you can use our online appointment request form.