A larger than normal liver may be a sign of a wide range of diseases. Although diseases of the liver itself often cause an enlarged liver, there are many other possible causes, including
- Bacteria, viruses and parasites.
- Certain heart conditions.
- Some types of leukaemia and lymphoma.
The liver, a wedge-shaped organ on the right side of your upper abdomen, is the largest internal organ. An adult liver normally weighs between 1.2kg to 1.5kg and measures an average of 5.9 inches in width.
It’s very unusual to have an enlarged liver without other signs and symptoms that point to an underlying disease.
Among the most common causes of liver enlargement are:
- Alcoholic liver disease, which includes alcohol fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a lifestyle-related metabolic disease.
- Viral hepatitis (hepatitis A,B,C,D or E )
- Liver cancer, or cancer that has spread to the liver from a different organ.
Many less common liver diseases may also cause liver enlargement, as do some diseases that primarily affect other organs but involve the liver indirectly. Some of them include:
- Some types of leukemia
- Some types of lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma.
- Wilsons disease
- Glycogen storage diseases
- Gauchers disease.
HEART AND BLOOD VESSEL PROBLEMS.
- Blockage of the veins that drain the liver.
- Congestive heart failure.
- Narrowing of the hearts tricuspid or mitral valves.
- Liver abscess, caused by parasites or bacteria.
- Other parasitic infections
- Relapsing fever, which humans catch from lice or ticks.
DAMAGE FROM TOXINS
- Drug-induced liver injury from such medications as acetaminophen and amoxicillin clavulanate.
- Toxic hepatitis from exposure to poisons, such as the industrial chemicals carbon tetrachloride and chloroform.
COMPLEX LIVER AND SYSTEMIC DISEASES
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis.
To reduce your risk of liver disease, you should
- Choose a healthy diet.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Follow directions when taking medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Limit contact with chemicals
- Maintain a healthy weight
In itself, an enlarged liver typically has no symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of conditions that commonly cause liver enlargement include:
- Pain in the upper right belly
- Muscle aches
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eye.
Treatment for an enlarged liver varies, depending on the condition that’s causing it. Some of the most common causes, including alcoholic hepatitis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, improve dramatically with alcohol abstinence, a healthy diet, regular exercise and weight loss.