Do You Have Swollen Liver?

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Swollen liver is a term some people use to describe what doctors call doctors call enlarged liver or hepatomegaly. The expressions swollen liver and enlarged liver are self-explanatory. So the question becomes, what causes hepatomegaly, and how much of a risk to liver health is it? This article will provide answers to those questions.

It’s important to point out that swollen liver is not a disease itself. It is a sign of some other liver-related problem or condition.

When a liver condition first appears, there are ordinarily no symptoms. This is true of liver swelling too. But as the disease that’s causing the swelling grows worse, signs will begin to appear.

Generally, a human liver weighs between 3 to 4 pounds or 1.5 kg. It is similar to a wedge in shape, and in most normal adults, about the size of a small American football. It can be found near the bottom of the rib cage on the right side of the body.

Enlarged liver is often the result of one or a combination of causes. One is hepatitis, which is usually caused by a virus, but can also be caused by excessive use of alcohol. The other most common cause, cirrhosis, is usually the result of excessive use of alcohol.

Liver infections and cancer are frequent causes of swollen liver also. Liver infections often accompany diseases such as malaria and mononucleosis.

Fatty liver disease, in which fat accumulates in the liver and damages it, is another common cause of an enlarged liver.

The initial phase in treating swollen liver is to isolate the root of the problem. If hepatomegaly is the result cancer or an infection, your physician will want to treat these disorders as soon as possible.

When swollen liver is the result of cirrhosis caused by drinking or alcoholic, any use of alcohol must be stopped immediately. If an enlarged liver is not linked to alcohol abuse or a liver-related disease, your doctor will probably recommend that you make some lifestyle changes. Diet and exercise are helpful in both treating and preventing liver swelling.

If you believe you are at risk for an enlarged liver, there are some recommendations for helping you prevent it.

If you use alcohol a lot, either limit your consumption or stop completely. If you don’t stop completely, never to take medicine at the same time. Doing so may irreparable damage to the liver.

Never take drugs or supplements unless they are approved by your doctor, and never exceed the recommended doses. Also consult your doctor before you try herbal supplements you have not taken before. Certain supplements are capable of damaging the liver. You should also be careful with vitamins because certain combinations of vitamins can hurt the liver.

Be doubly careful around cleaning materials, insect killers and other chemicals. If you work with these substances, take care that you are in a well-ventilated area. Some common chemicals and cleaning materials may be particularly risky for the liver.