Causes of Liver Disease

Supplements and herbs related liver disease

Liver disease can happen because of herbal medications and dietary supplements. Often patients take herbs or supplements without a recommendation from their physician. There are many herbs and supplements that are known to increase the risk of liver disease. Some of these can include things like Black Cohosh, Herbalife products, and Hydroxycut products. The injury to the liver from herbs and supplements can be temporary (toxic liver injury) and improve after the herb or supplement is stopped. Sometimes, the injury can be permanent and can lead to liver failure or death. It is important to let your physician know any herbs or supplements you are taking to decrease the risk for injury to the liver.

Medications induced liver disease

Liver disease can happen after using many prescriptions and over the counter medications. This is called Toxic liver injury. Over 1000 different medications have been known to cause liver injury. The most common drugs known to cause liver injury are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and antibiotics. The most common antibiotic known to cause liver injury is Augmentin. Injury can occur days up to weeks after taking the medication that causes the injury. Medications like acetaminophen cause injury when more than the recommended dose is taken. Medications like antibiotics can cause liver injury when a normal dose is taken. Sometimes the liver injury can improve once the medication is stopped but sometimes the injury can progress to liver failure and death.

Alcoholism and liver disease

Alcohol and the effects on the liver are poorly understood. The quantity of alcohol intake does not always determine if liver disease will occur. However, heavy drinkers have a higher risk of developing liver disease. Excessive alcohol intake does increase the risk for various types of liver disease including alcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. The only way to avoid effects of alcohol on the liver is to not drink alcohol. Moderate drinking is no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks for men. Heavy drinking is more than seven drinks per week or three drinks per occasion for women and more than 14 drinks per week or four drinks per occasion for men.

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