What causes an enlarged liver?

Written by anna aronson
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The liver has many functions, including detoxifying the body, making bile, storing and processing fatty acids, such as cholesterol and making proteins. It is the body's largest solid organ. A healthy adult liver is comparable in size to a football. Various medical conditions can cause the liver to become enlarged, but an enlarged liver itself is not a medical condition.

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Liver Cancer

People suffering from liver cancer often experience an enlarged liver. Liver cancer often develops after cancer has spread from other areas of the body.

Alcohol Abuse

Chronic alcohol abuse causes the liver to become enlarged and can eventually lead to liver failure.

Fatty Liver Disease

When fat accumulates in the liver, it can cause the organ to become enlarged. This is similar to what happens with chronic alcohol abuse, but on rare occasions the condition develops in people who drink little alcohol.

Heart Failure

People with congestive heart failure develop an enlarged liver because the heart isn't pumping blood fast enough.

Hepatitis

All three types of hepatitis--hepatitis A, B and C--are liver-based diseases that can cause the organ to become enlarged.

High Iron Count

If your body absorbs too much iron, a condition called hemochromatosis, the extra is stored in your liver, causing it to become enlarged.

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