Advanced Care for Diseases of the Liver
The liver is a large organ that is located on the right side of the upper abdomen. Protected by the rib cage, the human liver is reddish-brown and rubbery and weighs an average of three pounds. It is an important part of the digestive system and performs many functions that are essential to your health and, in fact, your life.
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Some of the liver’s functions include:
- Work with the gall bladder, pancreas and intestines to digest the food we eat and turn it into energy and chemicals that our body needs
- Filter the blood that comes through the digestive tract to remove and metabolize chemicals and drugs
- Make proteins that are needed for blood clotting
There are many diseases and conditions that can make the liver sick and unable to effectively perform these functions. Some are caused by viruses or cancer, while others may occur due to lifestyle choices such as too much alcohol consumption. And, in some people, liver disease may be caused by an inherited condition such as hemochromatosis or Wilson’s disease.
Regardless of the cause of liver disease, the digestive health experts at University Hospitals can help. Our multidisciplinary team of hepatologists, liver surgeons, transplant surgeons, oncologists and gastroenterologists works together to first determine an accurate diagnosis and then develop a treatment plan that will offer the patient the best chance for an optimal outcome. For some patients, their treatment plan may include participation in a clinical trial.
Symptoms of Liver Disease
When liver disease is diagnosed early, the chances of successful interventions and treatment are much greater. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should schedule a consultation with a UH liver specialist as soon as possible:
- Yellowing of the skin and/or eyes (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting
- Swelling of the legs, ankles and belly
- Severe itchiness of the skin
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Heavy bleeding from the blood vessels and esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach
- Fluid buildup in the lungs
- Feeling full and tired
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble getting enough sleep or sleeping too much
- Confusion that can come on suddenly
In-person and Virtual Appointments Available
At University Hospitals we offer the convenience of both in-person and virtual consultations. For many patients, a virtual appointment offers the following benefits:
- Prompt evaluation and treatment.
- Second opinion consults available
Conditions & Treatments
Learn more about the liver conditions we treat and the advanced diagnostics and medical/surgical therapies available at University Hospitals.