Viruses and parasites can infect the liver which results in a diminished liver function as a result of the inflammation caused by the infection. Hepatitis viruses, which cause inflammation of the liver, are the most common form of liver infections. These infections include Hepatitis A, B and C.
2. Autoimmune Diseases
In autoimmune diseases, like autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) or primary sclerosing cholangitis, the body's own immune system destroys the cells of the liver resp. the bile ducts.
Gene mutations can result in the build-up of a number of substances in the liver, this will eventually lead to liver damage. Genetic liver diseases include Hemochromatosis (also called iron overload disease) and the Wilson's disease characterized by the retention of too much copper in the liver.
The exact cause of liver cancer is unknown, but there are certain risk factors that increase the probability of developing cancer. Liver cancer is often preceded by liver damage due to:
• long-term hepatitis B, C or D infection
• some chemicals (e.g. arsenic) that are now rarely used
• diabetes – two to three times higher risk for liver cancer
• obesity as significant cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
• tobacco use in patients with chronic liver disease
• long-term use of anabolic steroids
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases, currently affecting 25% of adults worldwide . NAFLD is part of the metabolic syndrome characterized by diabetes, or pre-diabetes (insulin resistance), being overweight or obese, elevated blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as high blood pressure.
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality and encompasses a spectrum of disorders ranging from asymptomatic steatosis, alcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis and its related complications.