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Chronic Liver Disease

Chronic liver disease is a medical situation which involves gradual and continuous destruction and regeneration of the liver cells leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Chronic liver disease often results from damage to various parts of the liver. When the condition becomes severe, the liver fails or stops to function. This is a gradual process that takes several years to develop. Medical research studies have shown that chronic liver diseases are prevalent amongst elderly people aged seventy years and above. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that chronic liver disease causes approximately thirty thousand deaths annually, with a death rate of ten persons for every one hundred thousand people (Chow & Chow, 2006).

Chronic liver diseases can be caused by various factors. The major causes include excessive consumption of alcohol, infections by viruses, excess body weight or obesity, toxic drugs and certain viral diseases such as Hepatitis B and C. According to Miller, Vandome and McBrewster, a chronic liver disease may refer to any damage or destruction of the liver which may hinder or disrupt the efficiency and effectiveness in functionality of the liver (2010).

The major symptoms of chronic liver diseases include jaundice, loss of appetite, persistent weight loss, frequent diarrhea and general body weakness. Jaundice refers to a change of skin color to pale yellow or orange. It often results from the inability of the liver to produce bile due to infections or damage. Bile contains chemicals and acids that aid digestion of food in the intestines. Jaundice is also by characterized by frequent infections with flu. Reduced secretion of bile by liver may also lead to defecation of light colored stool as a result of reduced metabolism of foods in the body (Schattner & Knobler, 2008). In some cases, the white parts of the patient’s eyes may also turn yellow. The eyes may also become red and itchy. Chronic liver diseases also result into anemia, swelling and distention of the lower parts of the abdomen. Schattner and Knobler assert that in most cases of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis usually occurs. Cirrhosis usually results from damages to tissues of the liver (Schattner & Knobler, 2008). Cirrhosis occurs gradually over a long period of time. It is further reported that approximately twenty percent of heavy drinkers suffer from chronic liver disease (Hiyashi & Manns, 2004).

Risk Factors Associated With Chronic Liver Disease

It is evident that chronic liver diseases result from unhealthy lifestyles such as excessive consumption of alcohol and infections by viruses like Hepatitis B and C. In my opinion, it is advisable, therefore, for students to refrain themselves from irresponsible behaviors such as excessive consumption of alcohol, having unprotected sex especially with multiple partners and multiple body piercing and tattooing. Furthermore, students should avoid handling or working with chemicals without putting on protective clothes. They should also avoid using drugs without doctors’ prescription.

In addition, students should stop sharing used needles and syringes when injecting drugs into their bodies or during body piercing and tattooing. This is because such needles and syringes may have viral infections that can lead to chronic liver disease infections. Students should practice proper hygiene.

According to Dr. Palmer, damages to the liver which may lead to chronic liver disease are usually irreversible. However, the severity of the disease can be reduced by adopting appropriate behavioral changes. She further argues that proper management of one’s behaviors and lifestyles can help reduce or delay damages to the liver by ten percent (2006).

It is advisable for students to use condoms regularly when having sex to prevent infections with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Hepatitis B and C viruses. During body piercing, the items used should be sterilized. They should not share personal items such as shaving blades.


Treatment of a chronic liver disease depends on its cause. Treatment usually involves administration of drugs and minor surgeries. Where the liver is severely damaged, transplants are recommended. However, liver transplants are used only when no other alternative is available.

In conclusion, chronic liver diseases can be managed before they become fatal. It is vital for patients to seek medical attention whenever they develop symptoms of liver diseases. Patients should reduce alcohol consumption, exercise regularly and take balanced diets.

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