What Is Chronic Liver Disease?
Your liver helps to digest food and remove toxins from your body. Chronic liver diseases include any condition that damages your liver for more than six months.
Doctors at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases treat the full range of liver diseases and conditions.
Chronic Liver Disease Causes
There are a few main causes of chronic liver conditions, such as:
- Use of alcohol for a long time.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Diseases that you're born with (genetic diseases).
- Lifestyle factors including sedentary activity, obesity, and health conditions such as high blood pressure.
Types of Chronic Liver Diseases We Treat
Chronic liver diseases we treat at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases include:
- Alcoholic liver disease: Drinking too much alcohol sometimes leads to fatty liver disease, hepatitis, or cirrhosis (scarring).
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Too much fat in the liver damages its cells over time. Doctors don't know exactly what causes this disease but being overweight or having high blood pressure are contributing factors.
- Viral hepatitis: An infection, often caused by a virus, that causes liver inflammation and damage. Viral hepatitis B and viral hepatitis C are two of the most common types.
- Viral hepatitis B: An infection that spreads through contact with an infected person's body fluids, including blood or semen. Some people recover, while others develop chronic hepatitis B.
- Viral hepatitis C: Most people with this condition are infected by using an infected needle, having sex with an infected person, or if their mother had the infection during their birth. They may also have received it through a blood transfusion performed before the discovery of hepatitis C in 1989. Some people who have hepatitis C don't show any symptoms for a long time.
Treatments for Chronic Liver Disease
Depending on the chronic liver condition you have, we may recommend that you:
- Take an antiviral drug.
- Make lifestyle changes, including changing your diet and not drinking alcohol.
In cases where the above treatments no longer work and your condition has progressed to end-stage liver disease, we may refer you for a liver transplant. To provide this service, we partner with the UPMC Liver Transplant Program, one of the most experienced transplant programs in the United States.
Why Choose UPMC for Chronic Liver Disease Care?
Our experts at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases:
Whether your diagnosis is new, or if you've lived with liver disease for some time, you have hope at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases.
Contact the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases
To schedule an appointment with a hepatologist at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases, call 412-647-1170.