Certain hereditary metabolic disorders
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a hereditary disorder in which a lack or low level of the enzyme alpha-1 antitrypsin damages the lungs and liver. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is caused by... read more
Iron overload (hemochromatosis) Overview of Iron Overload Iron is essential for life, so the body usually tightly controls iron absorption from food and recycles the iron from red blood cells. People lose small amounts of iron every day, and even a... read more
These disorders affect how foods are absorbed, broken down, and/or processed (metabolized) in the body. If foods are not broken down normally, substances can accumulate in various organs (such as the liver) and cause damage.
Some infections can affect almost any organ of the body, including the liver. Some, such as hepatitis, affect mainly the liver.
Autoimmune hepatitis Overview of Chronic Hepatitis Chronic hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that lasts at least 6 months. Common causes include hepatitis B and C viruses and certain drugs. Most people have no symptoms, but some have vague... read more
Primary biliary cholangitis Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is inflammation with progressive scarring of the bile ducts in the liver. Eventually, the ducts are blocked, the liver becomes scarred, and cirrhosis and liver... read more
The body attacks its own tissues (an autoimmune reaction Autoimmune Disorders An autoimmune disorder is a malfunction of the body's immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues. What triggers an autoimmune disorder is not known. Symptoms vary depending... read more ).
In primary biliary cholangitis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, bile ducts become inflamed, scarred, and blocked.
Disorders that affect blood flow to, in, and out of the liver
Budd-Chiari syndrome Budd-Chiari Syndrome Budd-Chiari syndrome is caused by blood clots that completely or partially block blood flow from the liver. The blockage may occur anywhere from the small and large veins that carry blood from... read more (blockage of blood flow out of the liver)
Heart failure Heart Failure (HF) Heart failure is a disorder in which the heart is unable to keep up with the demands of the body, leading to reduced blood flow, back-up (congestion) of blood in the veins and lungs, and/or... read more
Portal vein thrombosis Portal Vein Thrombosis Portal vein thrombosis is blockage or narrowing of the portal vein (the blood vessel that brings blood to the liver from the intestines) by a blood clot. Most people have no symptoms, but in... read more (blockage of the main vein to the liver by a blood clot)
Sinusoidal obstruction syndrome Sinusoidal Obstruction Syndrome of the Liver Sinusoidal obstruction syndrome of the liver is blockage of the very small (microscopic) veins in the liver. Fluid tends to accumulate in the abdomen, the spleen may enlarge, and severe bleeding... read more (veno-occlusive disease of the liver; blockage of the small veins in the liver)
When blood cannot leave the liver, the liver enlarges.
When liver cells do not receive enough blood, they die and are replaced with scar tissue.
Sinusoidal obstruction syndrome is sometimes caused by pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These substances are present in certain herbal products such as bush (rooibos) teas, which are sometimes used for their supposed health benefits.
Most drugs must be processed in the liver. Some can harm the liver and require periodic liver blood tests while the person takes these drugs.
Congenital hepatic fibrosis
Congenital hepatic fibrosis damages primarily the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys. It causes fibrosis in the liver and other symptoms. This disorder is present at birth.
In nonalcoholic fatty liver, fat accumulates in the liver and fibrosis develops. This disorder tends to occur in people who have metabolic syndrome Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a large waist circumference (due to excess abdominal fat), high blood pressure, resistance to the effects of insulin (insulin resistance) or diabetes,... read more .