Liver toxicity, also known as hepatotoxicity, refers to damage or injury to the liver that occurs as a result of exposure to certain substances, including drugs, alcohol, chemicals, and herbal supplements. Liver toxicity can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, and in severe cases, liver failure.
The liver plays a critical role in detoxifying the body and breaking down toxins, so it is particularly vulnerable to damage from substances that are processed by the liver. Some common causes of liver toxicity include:
- Overuse or misuse of alcohol or certain drugs, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and prescription medications for high blood pressure or cholesterol
- Exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides or industrial chemicals
- Use of herbal supplements, which can contain substances that are toxic to the liver
Preventing liver toxicity involves avoiding or minimizing exposure to substances that can harm the liver. This may involve limiting alcohol consumption, using medications as directed, and avoiding exposure to environmental toxins. It is also important to be cautious when using herbal supplements, as these products can be marketed as “natural” but may still contain substances that can harm the liver.
If liver toxicity is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Treatment may involve stopping the use of the offending substance, administering medications to support liver function, and in severe cases, liver transplantation.