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What is Hepatic Fibrosis?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Hepatic fibrosis is a condition that develops in the liver and kidneys of an individual. Cells normally multiply in order to replace damaged tissues, but in an individual with hepatic fibrosis the division of cells and release of various chemicals are increased to the point of enlarging the liver and interfering with the normal processes and pressures of the organs. The condition can be inherited or develop due to environmental factors.

The liver is one of the body's organs that can regenerate tissues. When this regeneration process becomes overactive, it can result in scar tissues building up inside the organ. The liver's resilience makes it possible to reverse the condition if it is diagnosed early. Without diagnosis, it can cause a number of other problems, such as the buildup of dead tissue in the organ or the development of cirrhosis.

A number of things may cause an individual to develop hepatic fibrosis. Repeated exposure to certain types of medications can damage the liver, and excessive alcohol consumption can also begin the process. Hepatic fibrosis is also linked to a number of other conditions, such as cardiac failure, bacterial and viral infections, iron overdose, and conditions that interfere with an individual's ability to safely store chemicals and compounds in areas of the body until needed.

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Hepatic fibrosis can be difficult to diagnose because of a lack of symptoms. The condition often causes the development of portal hypertension, which is an increase in the pressure in the veins and organs attached to the liver. This can result in bleeding into the intestines or stomach, changes in mental state, and anemia. If this condition develops, many medical professionals will conduct a liver biopsy to determine if the underlying cause is hepatic fibrosis.

Once the condition is diagnosed, treatment depends on its progression. Many times, determining what factors caused hepatic fibrosis to develop and removing them from the environment or body will give the liver a chance to repair itself. In some cases, medication may be prescribed in order to aid this process.

When an individual is born with the condition, it is known as congenital hepatic fibrosis. In these cases, parts of the renal system can be malformed, and there are typically other conditions that occur. The malformations can often be seen before birth when an ultrasound is performed, but specific symptoms may not be present until well into adulthood. Liver and kidney function may become compromised, resulting in the administration of antibiotics and other types of medications to manage the condition.

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