Liver Disease Specialist

Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates

Gastroenterologists located in Fairfax, VA & Reston, VA

Hepatitis C is the top cause of liver disease, closely followed by alcohol abuse. But there are many types of liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. With early treatment from the team at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates, you can halt progressive liver disease. They provide complete care for your liver, from diagnosing the cause of the problem to creating customized treatment. If you have symptoms or you’re worried about your risk, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call one of the offices in Fairfax or Reston, Virginia, to get exceptional liver care.

Liver Disease Q&A

What is liver disease?

Liver disease encompasses any problem that affects your liver. Many liver diseases cause progressive damage that increasingly stops the organ from performing its vital jobs. For example, the liver breaks down and eliminates toxins and drugs, stores glucose, and regulates blood levels of proteins.

There are many types of liver disease. A few of the most common include:

  • Hepatitis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Primary biliary cholangitis

These liver diseases are caused by viruses, toxins, medications, herbal supplements, alcoholism, autoimmune diseases, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

What symptoms develop due to liver disease?

Liver disease causes symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Leg and ankle swelling (edema)
  • Itchy skin
  • Easy bruising
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Pale stool
  • Nausea and vomiting

The swelling in your belly and lower legs isn’t related to inflammation. It develops due to a buildup of fluids.

How does liver disease progress?

Healthy livers have a remarkable ability to heal. But once liver disease damages the tissues, inflammation develops. Chronic inflammation leads to scarring – a condition called cirrhosis.

At an early stage, Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates can treat liver disease, giving you the chance to slow down the progressive scarring and preserve the remaining healthy tissues.

Without treatment, however, cirrhosis gets worse and gradually takes over more of your liver. Over time, you reach end-stage liver disease. At this stage, the organ is so damaged that your only treatment option is a liver transplant.

How is liver disease treated?

The team at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates recommends the treatment that’s best for the underlying cause and severity of your liver disease. A comprehensive treatment plan incorporates lifestyle changes and medications.

Following a healthy diet, losing weight, and stopping alcohol abuse are a few of the most important lifestyle changes to improve liver disease. You may need to take medications to limit the damage to your liver, slow down progressive scarring, prevent fluid buildup, and control high blood pressure.

Your provider at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates closely monitors the progression of your liver disease, including watching for signs of cancer. Cirrhosis significantly increases your risk of developing liver cancer. Some liver diseases, such as hepatitis, can put you at a higher risk for cancer even without cirrhosis.

If you have questions about your symptoms or you need treatment for ongoing liver disease, don’t put off scheduling an appointment. Call Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates today.