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Enlarged Liver (hepatomegaly) is a chronic health condition in which the liver is swollen beyond its normal size. There can be many inner abnormal conditions that can trigger this health problem however excess alcohol intake is mostly correlated with this issue. The treatment process depends on the specific causes of enlarged liver.
The liver is an important organ of the human body which is responsible for many vital functions, to run and keep your overall health healthy and in an improved condition. It filters the blood that comes from the digestive tract so that only pure blood can be transmitted to the rest of your body.
Other than that it detoxifies chemicals, and metabolizes fats, protein and carbohydrates and store sugar known as glucose to provide enough energy level for the overall functionality of the human body. So even if a very small issue occurs with this important organ it can cost to your overall health by hampering it badly.
So it is very important that as soon as you diagnosed with the enlarged liver health problem without further delay get its treatment as any delay can cause your liver more damaged if remains untreated for a very long duration.
The treatment procedure will depend on that particular reason that has caused your liver swollen. Some common reasons that often came out as a reason behind this abnormal sizing of your liver are congestive heart failure, liver diseases, cancer, etc.
Here you will get to know complete details regarding the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options of the enlarged Liver (hepatomegaly) health issue.
The enlarged liver which is also known as Hepatomegaly in the medical term is one of the common health concern in America. As per the research reports, up to 25% of Americans are diagnosed with this disease and this number is increasing rapidly year by year.
The liver is the most vital organ of the human body as it produces one important liquid i.e. bile that helps to break down fat into food, removes all existing harmful chemicals from the body to keep it clean and healthy and many more essential functions for overall health. A person developing enlarged liver health issue develops the following symptoms in general.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle ache
- Abdominal pain or pain in the upper right belly
- The body’s skin and white areas of eyes color get yellowish also known as Jaundice.
- Fatigue, weakness
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
- Abdominal bloating or swelling
- Bloody stool or clay-colored stool
- Bleeding in gums
Some less common symptoms of the enlarged liver are:-
- Irregular menstruation
- Loss of body hair
- Red skin lesions
- Red palms
There are many reasons or sources that can create a problem for your liver health. The liver is a football-shaped large organ that exists in the upper right side of the abdomen. Its size varies depending upon your age, gender and body shape. Some primary conditions that can cause to enlarge your liver size are mentioned below:
- Viral hepatitis such as Hepatitis A, B and C and any other liver infections caused by harmful viruses.
- Alcoholic liver disease that includes liver damages caused by inflammation, scarring and fatty deposits due to excess alcohol consumption.
- Advance damages or scarring in the liver or cirrhosis caused by alcohol or other toxins products.
- Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases (NAFLD) or fat buildup in the liver not caused by the alcohol consumption.
- Due to Amyloidosis, a disorder that causes protein accumulation in liver abnormally.
- Hemachromatosis, a disorder that causes iron accumulation in the liver.
- Due to Wilson's disease which is a genetic disorder that causes copper accumulation in the liver.
- Gaucher's disease which is a disorder that causes fatty substances accumulation in the liver leading to an increase in the size of the liver beyond the normal level.
- Toxic hepatitis caused by chemical poisoning.
- Liver cysts or fluid-filled sacs in the liver caused by many reasons.
- Metabolic syndrome or condition that includes a group of risk factors to heart health such as excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, high blood sugar.
- Autoimmune disease, a condition in which your body immune system attacks its healthy tissues. In the cases of liver diseases, the immune system attacks to healthy tissues in the liver.
- Bile ducts or gallbladder obstruction that causes inflammation within the liver or back up of bile.
- Noncancerous tumors in the liver such as adenoma and hemangioma.
Heart and Blood Vessels Issues
- Blockages in the blood vessels that drain the liver also known as Budd-Chiari syndrome.
- Blockages in the small veins in the liver also known as Veno-occlusive disease.
- Congestive heart failure which causes blood back up in the hepatic veins that are responsible for draining blood from the liver. As a result of blood back up the liver gets congested and get larger in size. It is also known as congestive hepatomegaly.
- Inflammation in the surrounding tissues of the heart also known as
- Liver cancer
- Cancer that is developed in another organ but has spread in the liver.
- Leukemia, one kind of blood cancer in the bone marrow.
- Lymphoma, a blood cancer in the lymphatic system.
- Multiple myelomas a type of blood cancer that is specific to plasma cells of the bone marrow.
If you are already suffering from the certain liver disease then your risk of developing enlarged liver will remain quite high. Other than that the factors that increase your risk for enlarged liver health concern include the following:
Excess Alcohol Consumption
If you drink alcohol in excessive amount then you are more likely to develop alcoholic enlarged liver concern at some point in time of your life.
If you have developed Hepatitis A, B or C then your risk of developing enlarged liver issue gets too high.
Anyone who has developed certain infectious diseases caused by virus, parasite or bacterial attacks can easily damage their liver health.
Excess Doses of Medications and Vitamins Supplements
Excess or overdose consumption of prescribed medications, vitamins or other nutrient supplements or over the counter medications can easily damage your liver health leading to the enlarged liver issue.
Excess Herbal Supplement Consumption
Consumption of certain herbal supplements in excess doses can damage your liver. Some common herbal supplements that increase your liver health risk include valerian, ma huang, and black cohosh.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
Unhealthy foods habits such as foods loaded with high fat and sugary content increase your risk of liver damaging or enlarged liver problem.
Being overweight or in more precise term excess fat accumulation in the belly or abdominal area of body increases your risk to develop enlarged liver health issue very easily.
Enlarged Liver (hepatomegaly) Diagnosis and Treatment
The symptoms of an enlarged liver health issue may or may not develop in its very initial stage so chances exist that it remains unrecognized for a longer period or due to confusion with the symptoms of other health conditions.
However, if a person notices its symptoms the first line of diagnosis of this particular health issue will be a physical examination by your health specialist. They will touch your right side of the belly area and give little pressure to it to check whether there is any tenderness develops or not in this particular area or abnormalities in liver size.
To come into a conclusion a detail close view of the liver is required in order to analyze or determine this health condition. For this, you require to take certain prescribed imaging tests such as Ultrasound test, CT scan or MRI test.
In certain cases, even ERCP is required in which a very special scope is used to check every minute detailing of the tubes that carry bile. This test clears the existence of any abnormalities in the bile carrying tubes.
Other than that, if required a sample of the liver cells are taken through the biopsy process to check the existence of the fatty liver disease or liver cancer. All the diagnostic test reports clear out the actual source area or conditions that are responsible for the enlarged liver issue.
The treatment of enlarged liver or hepatomegaly depends upon the actual cause detected in the diagnostic process that is causing the enlargement in the liver size.
Most common causes which are generally detected behind this liver-damaging issue includes alcoholic and non alcoholic fatty liver disease which generally get relived by avoiding fully the alcohol intakes and by improving lifestyle such as by eating only healthy foods which are good for your liver health by reducing fat from your belly area as fat accumulation in belly can cause you to develop fatty liver health issue.
Enlarged liver health issue caused by hepatitis A is improved by taking medications and treatments to fight against infection and by keeping the body hydrated so that proper detoxifications of toxins will be possible.
In the cases of Cirrhosis liver health issue, it is controlled with appropriate medication doses that reduce the number of proteins absorbed in the foods. For avoiding or reducing water retention, water pills are prescribed to the concerned patient.
In the cases where the enlarged liver issue is caused by the fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity, this fluid is removed from time to time through needle or syringe to bring your liver size in normal condition.
In the cases of liver failure where no other treatment option can be applied to handle this health condition, liver transplants will be the only option.
However, before the liver transplant, several check-ups are done to determine whether the condition of the respective patient is appropriate for the transplant. Also, the right liver should be matched to get the transplant process done successfully.
As we all known prevention is always better than cure. So it is very important to keep your liver in healthy condition with its proper care and by avoiding the risk factors which increases your chances of developing an enlarged liver health issue, in your day to day life.
Some important preventing measure that can protect you from the risk of enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) problem are mentioned below:
- Drink Alcohol in Moderate Limit- Excess alcohol consumption is one of the primary reasons that cause damage in the liver leading to an enlarged liver health problem.
So to avoid this health risk, make sure that you either avoid the consumption of this toxic drink completely or have it in a very moderate amount.
The RDI limit of alcohol for men is two drinks in a day and for women, this limit is one drink in a day. Increasing this limit can cause you to suffer from many health problems, liver-damaging is one of those concerns.
- Eat Healthy Foods- Unhealthy foods such as highly processed diets, fatty and sugary foods are all bad for your liver health. So make sure that you avoid the consumption of these foods completely and in its place eat only fresh and healthy foods such as fresh fruits, green vegetables, homemade foods, less sugary drinks and foods, nuts, and whole grains.
- Reduce Your Excess Weight- If you are an obese or overweight person then your risk of developing enlarged liver issue will be greater than any other person who has a healthy body weight.
So to avoid the risk of this liver health issue, reduce your weight and maintain it to a healthy limit. Take a healthy and fat-free diet, exercise every day, drink plenty amount of water and take a sound sleep during nights to reduce your weight and in order to keep your liver in a healthy position.
- Avoid Your Contacts with Chemicals- Close contacts with harmful chemicals or toxins can affect your liver health and can make major damages in it. So as much as possible limit your contact with chemicals such as insecticides, aerosol cleaners, and other toxic products.
However, even if you require to use them for home cleansing purpose then make sure that you maintain full safety while handling them by wearing hand gloves, wear a mask, and long sleeves clothing.
- Take Medications and Supplements in Recommended Doses- Read the instructions mentioned in the packaging of any counter medications or vitamin or supplements or any other prescribed medications by doctors and follow the recommended doses as overdose consumption of these medications and supplements can damage your liver health.
- Quit Smoking- Smoking increases your risk of liver damage, so for the sake of your good liver health quit smoking as soon as possible if you are a smoker to avoid this health risk. You can take the help of counseling and other strategies that will help you in your journey of leaving smoking.
So whatever the causes of enlarged liver its treatment are very much possible and this can ensure you to get back your lost liver health. However, for avoiding this health risk you should always remain alert by following preventing measures and should not avoid the symptoms if you notice any of them.