What Is a Liver Specialist?

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Your liver is a crucial organ, carrying out critical functions like filtering toxins. Though it can regenerate and repair itself somewhat, if it becomes too damaged due to injury or disease, you will need to see a specialist.

Function

  • The liver performs hundreds of functions, including screening out toxins, producing essential proteins, storing sugars, releasing bile for digestion, storing vitamins and making needed fats and cholesterol.

Liver Disease

  • Diseases like fatty liver disease, alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis A, B and C can attack the liver and damage it to the point of failure. If your liver fails, only a transplant from a deceased donor or a partial liver from a living donor can save your life.

Physicians

  • Doctors who specialize in treating liver diseases are called hepatologists. Gastroenterologists, doctors who work with the entire gastrointestinal system, also treat the liver.

Testing

  • Liver damage shows no symptoms in the early stages, so liver specialists must rely on liver function testing to catch potential liver problems. This is usually performed when testing you for other conditions, like diabetes.

Training

  • Liver specialists are trained as medical doctors with a concentration in the hepatic system: liver, gall bladder and bile ducts. They may become consulting physicians, diagnosticians, or surgeons

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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