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Liver Disease, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment - by Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin, Chairman, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FRCS(G)

Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin, Padma Shri, is one of the best liver transplant and hepatobiliary surgeons in the country. Currently, the Chairman of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta, Gurugram, Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin has performed over 2500 liver transplants, 12000+ other complex liver, gallbladder, and bile duct surgeries with a 95% success rate. He treats Liver Cancer, Cirrhosis of the liver, Bile Duct cancer, Gallbladder Cancer, Biliary stricture, Liver Cyst, Liver Metastases, and Biliary Atresia, etc.

After completing his MBBS and MS from AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin, he worked as a senior resident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and has acquired Fellowship in General Surgery from Royal College of Edinburgh, UK and Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. Before Medanta, he worked as a Senior Consultant at Apollo Indraprastha Hospitals, New Delhi, and Sri Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.

Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin is a member of prestigious organizations like the Association of Surgeons of India, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, British Transplantation Society, Indian Society of Organ transplant and many more.


Liver Disease

The liver is crucial to digestion and is responsible for producing bile that helps to break down fats and cholesterol. The liver processes medications, hormones, nutrients and prevents infections by regulating immune responses. It detoxifies the blood by removing harmful bacteria and other waste products and stores iron. It generates proteins that allow the blood to clot in case of injuries.  

When a liver is diseased, it is unable to perform its functions causing substantial damage to the body. Liver disease can be caused due to:

  • Medicines: As medicines are processed by the liver, their prolonged use affects the liver by decreasing its functionality. Overdose of a medicine can cause liver failure. Statins for controlling cholesterol, painkillers such as a combination or paracetamol-hydrocodone (opioids) are examples of medicines that affect the liver. 

  • Infections: Diseases that can cause liver problems:

    • Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E

    • Epson-Barr virus

    • Wilson’s Disease

    • Fatty Liver Disease (Non-Alcoholic)

    • Hemochromatosis or Iron overload

  • Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption is a predominant cause of liver cirrhosis. 

  • Cancer: Cancers in the liver or the bile duct cause liver disease and failure

  • Type 2 Diabetes: While Type 2 Diabetes does not cause liver disease directly, it increases the risk factor for liver disease.


Symptoms of Liver Disease

There may or may not be any visible symptoms of liver disease depending on the severity of the disease.

  • Yellowish eyes and skin

  • Swelling and pain in extremities and/or abdomen

  • Change in the color of urine (darker than normal) and stool (paler than normal)  

  • Fatigue even after proper rest

  • Itchy skin that bruises easily

  • Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite


Liver Disease Diagnosis

Periodic blood tests like the Liver Function Test panel gives a measure of the functionality of the liver. These tests are usually a part of routine health checkup tests and are key to catching abnormalities early.

After the onset of symptoms, liver disease can be diagnosed with:

  • Blood tests: The liver function test, and other blood tests are done to determine the extent of the liver disease

  • Imaging Tests: Imaging tests used to measure liver damage are:

    • Ultrasound

    • CT-Scan

    • MRI

  • Biopsy: A long needle is inserted into the liver through the skin to extract a tissue sample for testing.


Liver Disease Treatment

The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate by repairing the damaged cells. It is possible to treat liver disease with:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Switching to a healthier lifestyle can reverse the damage to the liver.

    • A healthy diet with green vegetables

    • Regular exercise

    • Weight loss

    • No alcohol consumption

    • No smoking 

  • Medication: There is no one medicine to treat liver disease as it is managed according to the underlying cause of the liver failure. 

  • Surgery: Surgical intervention for liver failure is generally required for cases such as gall bladder stones or portal hypertension where there is an obstruction to the blood flow in the liver.

  • Liver Transplant: If all treatment options have been exhausted, a liver transplant may be done to replace the diseased liver with a healthy liver of a donor.


Prevention of Liver Disease

Liver disease is largely preventable.

  • Healthy Lifestyle: Leading or switching to a healthier lifestyle can prevent fatty liver disease.

  • Vaccinations: Hepatitis vaccines prevent the occurrence of some infections that are transmitted through blood and bodily fluids.  

  • Controlled Use of Medications: All medications especially over-the-counter medicines should be used as per the recommended dosage.

  • Weight control: Maintaining a healthy weight takes the pressure off the liver, heart and other organs

  • Food Safety: Avoid unclean or unsafe food and water

  • Reduce the Use of Chemicals: Insecticides like mosquito sprays or paints are chemicals that get absorbed through the skin and can cause liver damage.  



Liver disease means that more than 75 percent of the liver is damaged. However, as liver disease progresses silently, it is imperative to watch for any symptoms that may seem out of the ordinary. Those on prescription medicines for diabetes etc should take the blood test for liver function test at necessary intervals or as per the recommendation of the medical practitioner.

Author Name
Neha Jaswal

Published Date
: 06-Jun-2021

Neha Jaswal is a researcher and writer at Vaidam Health. Being a fitness freak, she loves to pen down about health and fitness. 
A writer by day and a reader by night, she likes to expand her pensive thoughts health, travel strategies.

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