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Liver » Liver Transplant

Five Things to Know About Hepatomegaly or an Enlarged Liver

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Hepatomegaly mean having a liver that has enlarged beyond its usual size. The cause could be cancer, liver diseases, blood vessel abnormalities, a genetic disorder, infections, or toxicity among several other reasons.

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At times, hepatomegaly could be caused by a simple reason.

Since your liver is responsible for basic management of fat digestion, sugar storage, blood clotting, protein production, hormone manufacturing, etc., discovering the cause of hepatomegaly and treating it should be at the top of all priorities.

If the source of your enlarged liver isn’t an exact medical emergency yet, there could be no symptoms of indication at all. However, as the severity increases, some or all of the following signs may show up.

  • Yellow skin, eyes, and jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain the abdomen
  • Weak appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen legs and feet
  • Easy bruising
  • Short breath
  • Tarry, black stools or blood-spots in stools

An enlarged liver immediately indicates malfunctioning liver tissues. The reason could be as simple as taking medications like amiodarone or as complicated as metastatic cancer.

Common reasons behind hepatomegaly cases include nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, liver cancer, cirrhosis, blood vessel abnormalities, heart defects, hepatitis A, B, or C infection, other liver infections and diseases induced by fat deposits, inflammation, and scarring in the organ.

Congestive hepatomegaly occurs when blood backs up the hepatic veins and accumulates in the liver, causing it to grow larger. Other less frequently occurring causes of hepatomegaly could be hepatic vein thrombosis, lymphoma, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, Gaucher’s disease, Wilson’s disease, toxic hepatitis, hepatic cysts, hemochromatosis, etc.

The major risk factors for hepatomegaly include genetic problems, lifestyle elements, and family history. If your family involves cases of autoimmune disorders, chronic liver condition, sickle cell disease, liver cancers, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, etc., you should be proactive and talk to a doctor about your chances.

Uncontrolled alcohol intake, unprotected needlework(blood transfusions, tattoos), unsafe sex, unsupervised herb consumption(Comfrey, Huang, Mistletoe) are a few lifestyle facets that increase the risk of an enlarged liver.

You can’t feel a regular-sized liver with your fingers. If you or the doctor can feel a mass in the lower part of your right rib cage, hepatomegaly is usually the first suspect. Diagnostic tests like CT Scan, MRI, abdominal X-ray, Ultrasound, liver function test and blood count test are performed to confirm or deny the physical test’s suspicions.

Hepatomegaly almost always arises from an underlying cause. Hence, its treatment varies for people as per the root of the issue. For instance, if hepatitis C is causing your liver to grow in size, the doctor may recommend medications, therapies, and diet restrictions.

If the cause is liver cancer, the source is treated via chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Liver transplant is suggested in cases of unrecoverable damage. Whatever be the case, you’ll be asked to either limit the use of alcohol or abstain from it. The doctor will also suggest that you take up a healthy diet, regular exercises, and appropriate weight maintenance programs.

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