Common Liver Diseases


Alagille syndrome is a genetic disorder that may affect many different parts of the body, including the liver. A person with Alagille syndrome has fewer than the normal number of small bile ducts inside the liver. As bile builds up in the liver, it may cause liver damage.


Alcohol-related liver disease is caused by drinking too much alcohol. It can cause the liver to swell and can lead to cirrhosis. The best way to prevent alcohol-related liver disease is to not drink more alcohol than what your doctor recommends.

Liver in Body


Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic disease in which your body’s immune system attacks the liver and causes inflammation and liver damage. Without treatment, autoimmune hepatitis may get worse and lead to complications, such as cirrhosis.


Researchers estimate that about 1 in 400 adults in the United States has cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is more common in adults ages 45 to 54. About 1 in 200 adults ages 45 to 54 in the United States has cirrhosis. Researchers believe the actual numbers may be higher because many people with cirrhosis are not diagnosed


Fatty liver disease is the buildup of fat in liver cells. It can cause the liver to swell and can lead to cirrhosis. Ways to prevent fatty liver disease are:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink


Galactosemia is a disorder that affects how the body processes a simple sugar called galactose. A small amount of galactose is present in many foods. It is primarily part of a larger sugar called lactose, which is found in all dairy products and many baby formulas.


Gilbert's syndrome happens when one of the enzymes that helps the liver remove bilirubin from the blood is not working properly. Apart from the minor problem with clearing bilirubin, the liver functions quite normally.


Since the hepatitis A vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of hepatitis A in the United States have declined dramatically. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of people infected has been increasing because there have been multiple outbreaks of hepatitis A in the United States. These outbreaks have primarily been from person-to-person contact, especially among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men.


Two billion people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus (1 out of 3 people).


Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. There is no vaccine to prevent HCV. The only way to prevent HCV is to avoid direct contact with infected blood. Other ways to stop the spread of HCV are:

  • Not sharing needles
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Not sharing razors, toothbrushes, or other personal items
  • Using only clean needles for tattoos and body piercings
  • Getting medical care if you are exposed to blood or needle sticks at work


Hepatorenal Syndrome (HRS) is a life-threatening condition that affects kidney function in people with advanced liver disease. HRS is most common in people with advanced cirrhosis (or scarring of the liver) and ascites, an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that is often related to liver disease


Liver cancer affects over 42,000 people in the United States each year and the numbers are rising. But liver cancer—caught early enough—can be successfully treated.


Lysosomal acid lipase deficiency is an inherited condition characterized by problems with the breakdown and use of fats and cholesterol in the body (lipid metabolism). In affected individuals, harmful amounts of fats (lipids) accumulate in cells and tissues throughout the body, which typically causes liver disease.


Mild jaundice is quite common in newborn babies and is usually a temporary condition that causes no problems. However, severe cases of jaundice can be harmful, so if you think your baby has jaundice, it is always best to let your doctor know.


Primary biliary cholangitis is a chronic disease in which the small bile ducts in the liver become injured and inflamed and are eventually destroyed. When there are no bile ducts, bile builds up and causes liver damage. This damage can lead to liver scarring, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure.


Reye's syndrome (RS) is primarily a children's disease, although it can occur at any age. It affects all organs of the body but is most harmful to the brain and the liver--causing an acute increase of pressure within the brain and, often, massive accumulations of fat in the liver and other organs. RS is defined as a two-phase illness because it generally occurs in conjunction with a previous viral infection, such as the flu or chicken pox.


Wilson disease (WD) is a rare inherited disorder of copper metabolism in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body.  The buildup of copper leads to damage in the liver, brain, and eyes.  Although copper accumulation begins at birth, symptoms of the disorder only appear later in life.