Liver Disease

Liver Disease


The most frequent liver diseases are generally caused by one of the following factors:


  • Viruses – Viral hepatitis is caused by viruses that attack the liver. The most common forms are Hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination, however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. In Canada, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants; however there are new, effective treatments for hepatitis C which were previously unavailable.


  • Obesity is the leading cause of liver disease in Canada


  • Alcohol – If the liver is required to detoxify alcohol continuously, liver cells may be destroyed or altered resulting in fat deposits (fatty liver). In more serious cases (alcoholic hepatitis) and/or permanent scarring (cirrhosis) can also result from alcohol induced liver disease.


  • Genetic – Several forms of liver disease can be caused by defective genes. These forms of liver disease may be diagnosed in infancy or may not show up until later in life.


  • Autoimmune disease – Sometimes a body’s own immune system can attack the liver leading to a progressive form of liver disease.


  • Drugs and toxins – Your liver is responsible for processing most of the chemicals and medications that enter your body. This leaves it vulnerable liver disease caused by chemicals


  • Cancer – Although liver cancer is relatively uncommon, many other forms of cancer often metastasize to the liver. Because the liver filters a high volume of blood which may be carrying cancer cells, it is susceptible to developing a form of secondary cancer. If cancer originates in the liver, it is often caused by hepatitis B, hepatitis C or can develop in cases of advanced liver disease when cirrhosis is present.