August 4, 2015
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Liver (Anatomy and Function) (cont.)

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What diseases affect the liver?

Many diseases may affect the liver directly or as a consequence of an illness or disease that begins in another organ.

Fatty liver disease

  • Fatty liver disease, caused by accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides within the liver is not associated with alcohol abuse. Fatty liver disease is also referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).


  • Cirrhosis of the liver describes a condition with scarring of the liver that is not reversible and may lead to liver failure.
  • Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver and is the most common cause of liver disease in North America.


Infections may affect the liver, including:


Hepatitis is an infection of the liver that causes liver inflammation.

  • Hepatitis A is often spread by poor sanitary habits including poor handwashing and may be transmitted by food handlers. It tends to be self-limited.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread by contact with infected body fluids.
  • Hepatitis D is spread in conjunction with hepatitis B and needs the B virus for it to survive in the body and cause liver damage.
  • Hepatitis E is a food or water borne infection.
  • There are vaccinations available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/16/2014


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