What Liver Problems Cause The Liver To Become Enlarged?

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Enlarged liver is a generic term for a condition that results in abnormal liver growth, which can have serious medical consequences. It may be caused by one or a combination of illnesses or diseases. The size of the growth ranges all the way from slightly enlarged to grossly enlarged. A human liver generally weighs 3-4 pounds (around one and a half kilograms). Some have described it as being shaped like a small American football.

Doctor describe an enlarged liver as hepatomegaly.

An enlarged liver is a sign or symptom of some other type of liver problem. It is not considered a disease by itself.

An enlarged liver can result from many different liver disorders. Those that are most frequent include the following.

* A number of different kinds of hepatitis.

* Polycystic liver disease, a disorder in which a series of cysts grow on the liver.

* Mononucleosis, malaria, and certain other diseases which trigger infections in the liver.

* Liver cysts, or small sacs that grow on the liver. They may be empty or may contain watery or mucous-like fluids.

* Cirrhosis, which is a scarring of the liver, typically caused by a disease like hepatitis or a chemical addiction (most often alcohol).

* Fatty liver syndrome (also known as fatty liver disease), which is characterized by a growing accumulation of fat in the liver. Poor diet is the most common cause. The build up of fat interferes with liver function.

* Certain types of cancer may contribute to enlarging the liver. This is particularly true in the case of leukemia.

Symptoms are not always obvious. This is especially true for a slightly enlarged liver. A grossly enlarged liver, on the other hand, may cause abdominal fullness and discomfort.

Other liver enlargement symptoms may include one or a combination of the following.

* A disorder called ascites, which occurs when fluid accumulates between the organs of the abdomen and the abdominal lining.

* Cholestasis, or a blockage or lack of bile flow from the liver through the bile ducts.

* Jaundice, in which the skin and eyes begin to look yellow. This is caused by too much pigment in the bloodstream.

Once your enlarged liver causes have been pinpointed, treatment can begin. Many times, and enlarged liver is caused by excessive use of alcohol. When this is the case, you must simply stop drinking. Poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise are factors that contribute to liver enlargement. Your doctor will suggest some important lifestyle and nutritional changes.

There are a number of things you can do to make sure your liver never becomes enlarged.

Drink alcohol in moderation, or stop completely. It's also important never consume alcohol while you're taking other drugs.

Be careful when taking multiple medications, and be sure to follow dosage instructions carefully.

Keep in mind that some herbal supplements can potentially cause liver trouble. Only take herbal supplements after discussions with your health care provider.

Make sure you don't take vitamin combinations that may cause liver trouble. Combinations of vitamins A, D, E and K may cause liver problems.

When using certain common household products, be sure the area is well-ventilated. Some insecticides, cleaners and aerosols can cause liver damage.

And here's one final thought that is worth repeating. Eating a healthy diet, getting some regular exercise and avoiding obesity are the absolute best ways to prevent problems with an enlarged liver.
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Neal Kennedy has 1 articles online

Related topics: liver problems and reasons for enlarged liver. Neal Kennedy is a former radio and television reporter. To read more of his articles, click on Maintaining Liver Health.

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What Liver Problems Cause The Liver To Become Enlarged?

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This article was published on 2010/10/20