Liver disease can generate a wide variety of symptoms. Many of these symptoms mimic those of a flu. Liver disease is diagnosed by using a blood test, a urine sample and an imaging test such as a CT scan or an MRI. For conditions that could be cancerous a liver biopsy may be taken as well.
The liver is a large organ that is located in the abdominal region just below the stomach. The job of the liver is to filter out harmful toxins in the blood before they reach the rest of the body, help to digest certain nutrients such as glucose and create urea which is the primary waste product in urine. When the liver becomes infected with a bacterial or fungal infection, it will become inflamed. Inflammation in the liver closes up the ducts within the liver, and puts pressure on the organs around the liver as well.
Some of the earliest symptoms of a liver infection are flu-like symptoms. These include nausea that could eventually lead to vomiting, abdominal cramps and sharp pain, loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss, a feeling of fatigue, an achy feeling throughout the body, excessive sweating, chronic diarrhea, a recurrent fever and a general ill feeling that does not seem to have any specific origin.
Some of the treatment that may be recommended for liver disease is similar to the recommendations made to treat the flu. These include drinking plenty of fluids to counteract the loss of fluid from diarrhea and sweating, bed rest, avoid consuming alcohol, eat a well-balanced diet with foods from each good group and take over-the-counter medication to help prevent nausea. Full treatment of the liver disease depends on the nature of the condition as determined by a diagnosis, but these basic remedies are commonly suggested to people with liver problems.
Some of the medications used to treat an infected liver may create flu-like symptoms of their own as a side-effect. For example, Interferon is an anti-viral medication that is sometimes used to combat certain types of liver diseases including hepatitis and other immune system diseases. The potential side-effects of taking Interferon include a fever, chills, excessive sweating especially at night, nausea that could lead to vomiting and general muscle aches.
The University of Illinois Medical Center notes that aside from bacterial and viral infections, there are other risk factors that increase the chances of contracting a liver condition. These risk factors include trauma to the body near the liver, alcohol consumption and a diet that is low in essential nutrients such as iron and protein.