Although there are several forms of acute liver disease, most of the patients seen in our clinic present with chronic (long-standing) liver disorders. These illnesses can be caused by toxicity (from alcohol, drugs, herbals), viral infections (hepatitis A, B, C), genetic disorders (Hemochromatosis), biliary disease (sclerosing cholangitis) and complications of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Unlike certain rapidly progressive deteriorating diseases, most forms of chronic liver disease take many years and sometimes decades to lead to cirrhosis (end-stage burn out of the liver) or liver cancer. Most patients do not have any symptoms in the early phase of their disease. In fact, many patients are initially diagnosed with liver enzyme elevations during their routine doctor visit or insurance physical. In the more advanced phase of their illness, patients may experience fatigue, itching, fluid accumulation, confusion, infection, and internal bleeding as the disease progresses to cirrhosis. Patients with cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis B are also at risk for liver cancer. Therefore they need regular clinic visits including laboratory testing and ultrasound for early diagnosis (screening).
Initial evaluation of liver disorders starts with a physician interview and examination in the clinic. This is typically supplemented with laboratory tests, imaging of the liver (such as ultrasound) and occasionally liver biopsy. Based on the clinical diagnosis, the physician is able to provide recommendations to the patient regarding treatment options. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, follow-up clinic visits are scheduled on a regular basis.
Our clinic is able to provide a seamless and thorough evaluation of liver disorders including in-house laboratory testing, on-site imaging (ultrasound, CT scan) and liver biopsy. Our gastroenterologist is trained in the evaluation and treatment of a myriad of liver diseases. Dr. Ender also has a special interest in the management of chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C disease.
Contact Wake Gastroenterology today to learn more and schedule your consultation with one of our experienced physicians.