Children and liver disease

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Children and liver disease

There are also many liver diseases that infants and children suffer from. Some of those are:

    * Biliary atresia - Biliary atresia is caused by the abnormal development of the bile ducts. When the bile ducts are too small or not there at all, bile backs up and damages the liver. Surgical treatment is needed to correct the problem. This is a condition that can lead to cirrhosis. Biliary atresia is the most common reason for liver transplantation in children.
    * Galactosemia - This is an inherited condition where the body is unable to digest a milk sugar called galactose. Newborns can be screened for this at birth. Unless discovered, it can be fatal. The child must be taken off formulas with milk sugars.
    * Wilson's disease - This is another inherited condition that leads to a build up of copper in the liver and nervous system. It often appears first in childhood, though it can appear later on as well. The liver of a person who has Wilson's disease does not release copper into bile as it should. As the intestines absorb copper from food, the copper builds up in the liver and injures liver tissue. Eventually, the damage causes the liver to release the copper directly into the bloodstream, which carries the copper throughout the body. The copper buildup leads to damage in the kidneys, brain and eyes. If not treated, Wilson's disease can cause severe brain damage. Medications can be used to treat Wilson's disease. Liver transplantation may be indicated for those with very advanced disease.
    * Reye's syndrome - This condition leads to a fat build up in the liver. It also impacts the brain and is often fatal. It is often connected with a case of chicken pox or a flu type illness. Taking aspirin with a fever by children has also been linked to Reye's.
    * Alagille syndrome - This is an inherited disorder in which there is progressive loss of the bile ducts within the liver and narrowing of bile ducts outside the liver. Symptoms include jaundice, itchy skin, pale, loose stools and poor growth in the first three months of life. Treatment includes medications designed to increase the flow of bile, and dietary supplements. This is a condition that can lead to cirrhosis.

Treat it well

If you have a healthy liver, taking care of it can help keep you healthy. Remember that just about everything that enters your body, food, medication, alcohol, even chemicals we absorb through our skin, passes through the liver. Send enough bad stuff there and you can expect problems. Megadoses of vitamins and herbal supplements can cause problems so make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking them.

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