What is Hepatomegaly?
What is Hepatomegaly? Hepatomegaly is a disease caused by an enlargement of the size of the liver which exceeds its normal size. This condition can be triggered by diseases in the liver or outside the liver. Hepatomegaly should be treated immediately so as not to cause damage to liver function that can affect the role of other organs, such as the process of cleaning our blood from harmful chemicals.
Causes of Hepatomegaly?
Among the causes of hepatomegaly, the most common cases that trigger hepatomegaly are the following diseases and conditions:
- Cancer that comes from the heart itself.
- Metastasis, cancer in the liver originating from cancer in other organs.
- Alcoholic liver disease or Alcoholic liver disease due to excessive consumption of alcohol can cause fat accumulation in the liver.
- Diseases included in alcoholic liver disease include alcohol hepatitis, alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a disorder of the metabolic process due to a particular lifestyle.
- Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E.
Some other conditions of the disease may be the cause of hepatomegaly, such as bacterial and parasitic infections, various heart disorders, various cancers, and genetic disorders.
Genetic disorders can lead to accumulation of fat, protein, or other substances in the liver that can lead to the enlargement of the size of the liver. Genetic disorders include glycogen stockpiling, Wilson’s disease, and hemochromatosis.
Some cancers, such as blood cancer, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma can also be a trigger for hepatomegaly. Various cardiac abnormalities also include hepatomegaly risk factors, including congestive heart failure and stenosis in the heart valve.
In newborn infants and children, hepatomegaly can also be caused by gaucher, galactosemia, malaria, TORCH virus infections, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, and medications.
Symptoms of Hepatomegaly
Symptoms of hepatomegaly become increasingly felt if the liver enlargement occurs. Emerging symptoms may depend on the type of disease that triggers this condition so further examination will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Various symptoms related to hepatomegaly that can arise include discomfort in the upper right abdominal area, often appear feeling full, nausea, muscle pain, feeling tired or weak, weight loss, and skin or eyes that are yellowish.
Diagnosis of Hepatomegaly
After asking a number of questions, the doctor will usually perform a physical examination, especially on the abdomen to determine the presence or absence of hepatomegaly. The doctor will press and feel the right abdominal area under the ribs. The purpose of this step is:
- Get an estimate of the size of the liver.
- Tenderness and texture of organ lumps
After that, doctors will usually do a picture of liver organ using ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI tests to get clearer liver shape imaging.
Blood tests can be done to determine the levels of enzymes and to identify the type of virus that causes enlargement of liver, such as the virus that causes hepatitis. A small portion of the liver tissue may also be taken for examination of the fat content or number of cancer cells it possesses by using ultrasound during the biopsy procedure. Another procedure that may also be performed without having to do a biopsy is an elastographic or magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) test.
Handling and treatment of hepatomegaly will be seen from the conditions that cause the emergence of this disease in patients. By treating the disease that triggers hepatomegaly, it can indirectly help improve healing process of hepatomegaly. Fasting from consuming alcoholic beverages, exercising regularly, losing weight (in obese people), and applying a healthy eating diet is a recommended step to reduce the risk of alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
A healthy diet to reduce the risk of hepatomegaly or liver disease can be started by adding vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to your diet. Pay attention to instructions when taking drugs, vitamins, or supplements. Maintain an ideal body weight by consulting your doctor before starting a course of treatment. Limit also the excessive use of chemically insecticides, such as insecticides, especially in rooms without a proportional ventilation system.