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What Are Metabolic Liver Diseases?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Goutham Kumar 85% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Fellowship - American Society of Transplant surgeons
General Surgeon, Bangalore  •  14 years experience
What Are Metabolic Liver Diseases?

One can develop metabolic disarrays when some organs of the body become unhealthy and do not perform their functions properly. There are various medical conditions related to metabolism that affect the liver and can lead to chronic liver problems and diseases. They can be life-threatening, like liver cancer and cirrhosis. Alpha-I Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD), Wilson’s Disease, and Hereditary Hemochromatosis are the most familiar metabolic liver diseases.

There can be various health and medical problems, diseases, and disorders that can cause Metabolic Liver Diseases. If these disorders or diseases are not diagnosed on time and treated well, they can lead to Metabolic Liver Diseases. There are some common causes which show the possibility of developing Metabolic Liver Diseases.

● Wilson’s Disease: It is a rare genetic health problem which is caused by the accumulation of copper in organs like liver. This can lead to cirrhosis or acute liver failure. To treat Wilson’s Disease, the medical team will focus on reducing the dietary consumption of copper. The patient will be provided with a new diet plan that avoids food item with copper content like mushrooms, chocolate, shellfish, and nuts. The doctor will also provide medications to accelerate the copper excretion from the body. One might need a liver transplant if suffering from cirrhosis, which ultimately leads to acute liver failure.

● Alpha-I Antitrypsin Deficiency or AATD: Another genetic condition or disorder that can cause Metabolic Liver Diseases is Alpha-I Antitrypsin Deficiency or AATD. This AATD disorder can cause Emphysema in grown-ups and liver ailment at any age. In this condition, the body produces an excessive amount of irregular protein that gets accumulated in the liver. This can slowly lead to
scarring, liver cancer, adult-onset chronic hepatitis, liver damage, and cirrhosis. AATD is incurable but there are treatments used to reduce the complications of Liver Diseases. There are certain precautions advised to patients with AATD like terminating smoking and alcohol consumption. Sometimes, for adults, a liver transplant is an option to treat AATD.

● Hereditary Hemochromatosis: Another cause that can lead to Metabolic Liver Diseases is Hereditary Hemochromatosis. It is a genetic abnormality where the body assimilates and accumulates iron more than the permissible limits for the human body. This excess iron is stored in organs like pancreas and liver and can lead to liver cirrhosis. This excess iron accumulation can happen when the body gets several iron infusions in the blood. Hereditary Hemochromatosis can be easily diagnosed with a blood test. Therapeutic Phlebotomy is a treatment procedure used to treat the Hereditary Hemochromatosis by removing excess iron from the body.

Takeaway-
Metabolic Liver Disease develops when the liver could no longer function properly. There are a number of causes but the most common of them include Alpha-I Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD), Wilson’s Disease, and Hereditary Hemochromatosis. These diseases can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated properly and on time.

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