In order to function properly, the body is helped by many internal organs. Two internal organs that have important tasks are the liver and spleen. The spleen acts to detect disease-causing microorganisms and creates antibodies to fight them. Meanwhile, the liver works to rinse toxins from the blood, process proteins, and help the body's immune system fight infections. If these two organs experience interference, then the body's normal function will be disrupted. One of the most common disorders affecting these two organs is hepatosplenomegaly, which is swelling of the liver and spleen at once.
What is hepatosplenomegaly?
Hepatosplenomegaly is a disorder that causes the liver (hepato) and spleen (spleno) to swell above its normal size (megali). When the liver and spleen are swollen, they cannot function normally.
Not all cases of hepatosplenomegaly are a serious condition. Most cases can be handled easily through simple treatments. However, that does not mean you may underestimate this disorder.
Swelling of the liver and spleen can simultaneously be a symptom of serious health problems, such as lysosome storage or even cancer.
Who is most at risk of experiencing hepatosplenomegaly?
A person will be more prone to swelling of the spleen and liver if they have:
- High cholesterol.
People who have shared needles and syringes with other people, for example when using drugs, are also at risk of experiencing this condition.
Symptoms of swelling of the liver and spleen
There are various symptoms that arise due to swelling of the liver and spleen, such as:
- Stomach swells.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Abdominal pain in the upper right and painful if touched.
- Itchy skin.
- Jaundice (jaundice), characterized by yellowing of the skin and eyes.
- Urine brown.
- Colored dirt like clay.
- Fatigue without cause.
Causes of swelling of the liver and spleen
These two internal organs are close together. When the liver swells, increasing the size of the liver will suppress the spleen. This large pressure can inhibit blood flow to the spleen which makes it swell and enlarge.
Various conditions that can cause swelling of the liver and spleen, including:
- Infection, such as hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, or sepsis.
- Chronic liver disease, such as portal hypertension.
- Leukemia (blood cancer).
- Metabolic diseases, such as Hurler's syndrome, Niemann-Pick disease, and Gaucher's disease.
- Osteopetrosis, a hereditary condition that makes bones harder and denser than normal.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common type of lupus.
- Amyloidosis, abnormal and rare buildup of folding proteins.
- Double sulfatase deficiency, rare enzyme deficiency.
Not only adults, children can also get this disease. Common causes of hepatosplenomegaly in children are sepsis (severe bacterial infection), malaria, thalassemia, and lysosome storage disorders (the body's inability to process glucokerebroside).
Treatment for liver and spleen swelling
Treatment and treatment for hepatosplenomegaly depends on the cause. Medications can be prescribed by the doctor in a specific manner after seeing your cause of hepatosplenomegaly, whether anemia, HIV, liver disease, or infection. If the cause of the swelling is cancer, the treatment options are chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgical removal of the tumor.
In addition, doctors will usually ask you to adopt a healthier lifestyle, such as stopping or reducing drinking alcohol, regular exercise, and eating healthy foods. The doctor will also ask you to have plenty of rest and adequate body fluids.
However, if the condition is severe until the liver is damaged, the doctor will advise you to do a liver transplant. Because, a person can still survive without a spleen but will not be able to live without the liver (liver).
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