Hepatology is an area of medicine that focuses on diseases of the liver as well as related conditions. Hepatology is distinct from other specialized forms of medicine because of its focus on organs affected by hepatic diseases. A hepatologist is a specialized doctor involved in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatic diseases, which include issues that affect your liver and gallbladder.
The liver is the largest solid organ in the body and serves the critical function of cleaning the blood and providing other metabolic functions. Dr. Nadege T. Gunn, MD, CPI , hepatologist has dedicated her life to understanding not only how the liver reacts to disease, but also how to effectively treat and manage these conditions.
When should you see a hepatologist?
A general practitioner may refer a patient to a hepatologist for a variety of reasons including drug overdose, gastrointestinal bleeding from portal hypertension, jaundice, ascites, enzyme defects or blood tests that indicate liver disease
What is a hepatologist?
A gastroenterologist specializes in diseases of all the digestive tract organs, including the liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, and gallbladder. A hepatologist, is a gastroenterologist, who specifically focuses on liver disorders as well as the pancreas and gallbladder.
When you see a hepatolgist, expect to receive a liver health scan, called a FibroScan, to measure liver stiffness at consultation visit.
What does a FibroScan test for and how does it work?
Fibroscan is a non-invasive test that helps assess the health of your liver.
Specifically, it uses ultrasound technology to determine the degree of fibrosis or scarring that may be present in your liver from various liver diseases or conditions. Scarring measurements the scan provides help your doctor diagnosis and track the progression of liver disease.
The liver scan FibroScan can be used to help diagnose or monitor the progression of diseases affecting the liver, such as:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD/NASH)
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Viral hepatitis
- Can also help doctors see whether and how liver disease is advancing
- Help doctors see whether and how liver disease is advancing
Is FibroScan painful? How long does the procedure take?
FibroScans are not at all painful, no sedation is needed, and the typical exam takes only 5-10 minutes.
What are the hepatic conditions?
- Diseases caused by viruses, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
- Diseases caused by drugs, poisons, or too much alcohol. Examples include fatty liver disease and cirrhosis
- Liver cancer
- Inherited diseases, such as hemochromatosis and Wilson disease.
Early diagnosis may prevent damage from occurring in your liver. Your liver is an incredible organ. If you’re diagnosed when some scar tissue has already formed, your liver can repair and even regenerate itself. Because of this, damage from liver disease can often be reversed with a well-managed treatment plan.
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