Why we should never take liver inflammation lightly
Inflammation is a common defence mechanism in our body. Despite the huge importance it plays in our health, most of the time we don’t give too many thoughts about it because they come and go quickly, like a sore throat or mouth ulcers.
Similar to any other parts of our body, our liver can develop inflammation as well. Being the largest gland that has an incredible self-healing ability, the liver should be able to fight off viruses and irritants that cause inflammation on its own. But why is it that liver disease has been on the rise in recent decades, and is this related to the nature of inflammation in the liver?
What is inflammation?
As a natural body’s response to injury, inflammation occurs to signal the immune system to heal and repair the damaged tissues in our body. There are two types of inflammation, namely acute and chronic. Acute ones often only last for a short period of time, whereas chronic inflammation can go on for months to years.
How is inflammation in the liver different?
When we have inflammation in most parts of our body, we can feel it – the area becomes hot and painful, like a sore throat or mouth ulcers.
But inflammation in the liver causes no discomfort most of the time. In fact, most people can’t feel it at all. That’s why a majority of liver patients often missed treating the condition early. Instead of pain, the most common symptom of early liver inflammation is fatigue.
When the liver is inflamed for more than 6 months, it is considered a chronic condition, as it can pose a lot of danger to our liver health. Why is liver inflammation such a serious condition, so serious that it requires our immediate attention?
Inflammation as the root cause of all liver diseases
All liver diseases evolve from inflammation in the liver that is not taken care of.
Every day, we are exposed to different factors that could cause our liver to be inflamed – alcohol, drugs, viruses, unhealthy diets, you name it. When we don’t take care of our liver health well, damage will sustain in the liver, causing inflammation over time.
Advanced liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, originate from hepatic inflammation. As a research published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information describes, liver inflammation is a driver of hepatic fibrosis, meaning that fibrosis (formation of scar tissues) develops from inflammation. When too much scar tissues are formed, cirrhosis will take place.
How is liver inflammation measured and managed?
With different ways to check for liver diseases, measuring the ALT level in blood is by far the most accurate way to find out the degree of liver inflammation and injury.
High levels of ALT in the blood can indicate a liver problem, even before signs of liver diseases have developed. Normalizing ALT level requires us looking into the possible causes of inflammation. Is the patient alcoholic or diabetic? Did the patient contract hepatitis virus before? All these do affect the level of liver inflammation, which is reflected by the ALT level.
Did you encounter any difficulty in keeping your ALT level within a normal range? You are welcome to discuss any liver problems you have with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- American Liver Foundation, https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/#1503432164340-0032f56f-dd5d, (2018-12-20)
- Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php, (2018-12-20)
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3949261/, (2018-12-20)
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.