×
Common Liver Diseases

Although liver disease is stereo typically linked to alcohol or drugs, the truth is that there are over 100 known forms of liver disease caused by a variety of factors and affecting everyone from infants to older adults.

Cirrhosis is often considered to be a form of liver disease and may be the only liver-related condition that many people have heard of. In fact, cirrhosis is a condition that results from permanent damage or scarring of the liver. It is the end stage of many different forms of liver disease and is known to cause a number of other health problems, including variceal bleeding, ascites and hepatic encephalitic.

Many types of liver disease still have unknown causes but the most frequent liver diseases are generally caused by one of the following factors:

  • Viral hepatitis
    Caused by viruses that attack the liver, viral hepatitis comes in many forms. The most common forms world-wide are hepatitis A, B and C. Although hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccine, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. In Canada, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants.
  • Obesity
    The leading cause of liver disease linked to obesity.
  • Alcohol
    Factors such as gender, age, nationality, weight and health can affect how a person’s liver metabolizes alcohol. When the liver has too much alcohol to handle, normal liver function may be interrupted leading to a chemical imbalance. If the liver is required to detoxify alcohol continuously, liver cells may be destroyed or altered resulting in fat deposits (fatty liver) and more seriously, either inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) and/or permanent scarring (cirrhosis). Liver cancercan also result from alcohol induced liver disease.