Enlarged liver is a term used to describe a potentially serious medical condition. The main characteristic is that the liver swells to an abnormal size. There are a number of diseases and illnesses that can cause this to happen. Sometimes the liver may only become slightly enlarged, but it can also reach very large proportions, in which case it is described as grossly enlarged. Some have described the human liver as resembling a small American football in shape. It usually weighs between three and four pounds, or one and a half kilograms.
Medical professionals have a name for an enlarged liver. It is called hepatomegaly.
When the liver becomes enlarged, it is not considered a disease. It is more a symptom of some other liver problem.
An enlarged liver can occur for a number of reasons. The most frequently diagnosed causes include the following.
Symptoms often depend on the degree of enlargement. A slightly enlarged liver won’t present any symptoms. But a grossly enlarged liver may cause abdominal fullness and some pain.
Symptoms of liver enlargement, when they do appear, could include any combination of the following.
It’s important to know the cause of an enlarged liver in order to determine the best course of treatment. If the cause is related to alcohol overuse, it’s important to stop drinking. Poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise are factors that contribute to liver enlargement. Your doctor will suggest some important lifestyle and nutritional changes.
Here are some common sense ways to avoid problems from an enlarged liver.