Your liver is the largest organ inside your abdomen (belly). It is responsible for a wide range of jobs, including helping you digest food, filtering toxic substances out of your blood and making the things that thicken your blood to help it clot.
Your liver can be damaged by many different diseases or conditions. Some of these are caused by viruses, such as hepatitis A, B and C, or by problems with your immune system. Some are inherited.
Liver disease can cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and prevent your liver from functioning properly. This can lead to symptoms, such as fatigue and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes).
Signs and symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue and weakness, abdominal swelling that feels tender, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes and a poor reaction to medicines. These symptoms may appear slowly over time, so you may not notice them at first.
Alcohol can damage the liver. It is especially harmful for people with hepatitis B and C or cirrhosis of the liver.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can also affect the liver. This fat buildup in the liver is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common form of hepatitis C and is linked to rising rates of obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.
There are some ways to help prevent and control fatty liver disease. For example, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help to reduce the amount of fat in your liver. Getting tested for genetic liver diseases can also help you learn more about your risk of developing liver disease.