Liver Disease

Liver disease is any condition that causes liver inflammation or tissue damage and affects liver function. The liver is the largest organ in the body and performs a number of vital functions such as converting nutrients derived from food into essential blood components, storing vitamins and minerals, regulating blood clotting, producing  proteins, enzymes, maintaining hormone balances, and metabolizing and detoxifying substances that would otherwise be harmful to the body. The liver also produces bile, a liquid that helps with digestion.

A moderate amount of alcohol is broken down by the liver without any damage. However, when drinking excessively, the liver can transform alcohol into fat and accumulate these lipids and become injured or seriously damaged. Liver injury can be determined by histology, abdominal ultrasonography and by testing the blood concentration of certain enzymes, such as gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), aspartate amino-transferase (AST), and alanine amino-transferase (ALT).

On the other hand, some studies suggest that moderate and regular consumption of alcoholic beverages may play a protective role against fatty liver disease, the exact mechanisms involved have not yet been clearly established.

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the relation between body mass index (BMI) and liver cirrhosis and the contribution that BMI and alcohol consumption make to the incidence of liver cirrhosis in middle aged women in the UK. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study (Million Women Study). SETTING: Women recruited from 1996 to 2001 in NHS breast screening centres and followed by record linkage to routinely collected information on hospital admissions and deaths. PARTICIPANTS: 1 230 662 women (mean age 56 years at recruitment) followed for an average of 6.2 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Relative risk and absolute risk of first hospital admission with or death from liver cirrhosis adjusted for age, recruitment region, alcohol consumption, smoking, socioeconomic status, and physical activity. RESULTS: 1811 women…
Background: Moderate alcohol consumption may have certain beneficial effects against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is associated with metabolic syndrome. Aim To determine the association between drinking pattern and fatty liver in Japanese men and women. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed with health checkup data including information concerning alcohol consumption and ultrasonographic assessment of fatty liver. Results: We analysed 4957 men and 2155 women without reported liver diseases (median age, 49 years). In men, 40% of nondrinkers and 28% of drinkers had fatty liver. Alcohol consumption was inversely associated with fatty liver (adjusted odds ratio, 0.54; 95% confidence interval, 0.46-0.63). The prevalence of fatty liver in each category of drinking frequency was 38% (1-3 days/week), 29% (4-6 days/week), and…
AIMS: To analyse the relationship between population drinking and liver cirrhosis mortality in eastern European countries and compare it with similar findings from western Europe. DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: Yearly data, from the approximate period 1960-2002, on liver cirrhosis mortality in total and by gender were analysed in relation to per capita alcohol consumption in nine eastern European countries divided into 'spirits countries' and 'non-spirits countries'. The Box-Jenkins technique for time-series analysis was used to estimate the impact on liver cirrhosis resulting from a 1-litre increase in per capita consumption in terms of relative (%) and absolute effects (number of cirrhosis deaths). FINDINGS: Cirrhosis mortality rates were related significantly to population drinking in eight of nine eastern European countries and both…
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Alcohol is an established risk factor for liver cirrhosis. It remains unclear, however, whether this relationship follows a continuous dose-response pattern or has a threshold. Also, the influences of sex and end-point (i.e. mortality vs. morbidity) on the association are not known. To address these questions and to provide a quantitative assessment of the association between alcohol intake and risk of liver cirrhosis, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort and case-control studies. DESIGN AND METHODS: Studies were identified by a literature search of Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsychINFO, ETOH and Google Scholar from January 1980 to January 2008 and by searching the references of retrieved articles. Studies were included if quantifiable…
BACKGROUND: In the past 15 years mortality rates from liver disease have doubled in the UK. Brief alcohol advice is cost effective, but clinically meaningful reductions in alcohol consumption only occur in around 1 in 10 individuals. AIM: To provide evidence that detecting early liver disease in the community is feasible, practical, and that feedback of liver risk can increase the proportion of subjects reducing alcohol consumption. DESIGN AND SETTING: A community feasibility study in nine general practice sites in Hampshire. METHOD: Hazardous and harmful drinkers were identified by WHO AUDIT questionnaire and offered screening for liver fibrosis. RESULTS: In total, 4630 individuals responded, of whom 1128 (24%) hazardous or harmful drinkers were offered a liver fibrosis check using the…
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