Liver Specialist: When Do You Need To Meet One?
The liver has a vital role to play in our body. It is an essential organ that renders its support to other organs in the body some way or the other. For a healthy body, liver functions are necessary as it helps to control the level of toxins and the level of chemicals in the blood. The liver plays a significant role in the digestion of the food. It also processes the nutrients. It performs some more than 500 functions in the body. When the general physician diagnoses a problem in the liver, he may refer you to a Hepatologist in Kolkata (also called as Liver Specialist).
So what is Hepatology and Its Functions?
The word Hepatology is made from ‘Hepar’ (meaning liver) and ‘ology’ meaning the study of a particular field or topic. It is related to the study of liver, gallbladder, pancreas and the biliary ducts, and the disorders that these get affected with.
Traditionally it was considered as the sub-speciality of gastroenterology which focused on the entire digestive system and the related disorders. However, due to rapid expansion, the field is being recognized as a speciality on its own.
Is It same as Gastroenterology?
Both specialists can diagnose and treat the problem of the liver and the biliary system. The specialist in the domain of Hepatology has to study getting trained in liver disease after getting enrolled in the gastroenterology program.
The Hepatologist has to gain the specialist experience in liver problem management and the biliary system in these two years. While all the gastroenterologist has a basic understanding of the Hepatology but the liver specialist gain expertise after years of research and further investigating in the field. It means they are the experts whom you must refer to when there is a liver problem.
What Problems Do they treat?
Hepatologist diagnoses and treats various kinds of liver problems. These include cirrhosis which is caused by the significant scarring on the liver. Drinking alcohol in excess can cause liver problems; these experts handle them. Then the Hepatitis, fatty liver disease, drug problems that affect, liver cancer and any other cause of liver disease like autoimmune liver disease, PBC and PSC etc.
They can also treat various other problems that related to the biliary system, which include the gallstones, and the pancreas inflammation. The liver specialist also monitors the patients who undergo liver surgery such as a liver transplant, giving them adequate care before and after the operation as they are not surgeons, so they are unable to perform transplants. But they can surely diagnose the patients and can decide if the surgery is necessary.
How Can You Come to Know About Liver Problem?
Most patients get referred to the Hepatologist from their general physician who can see them for many reasons. It may be some issue in the liver function tests, jaundice, alcohol misuse or the suspected hepatitis. When you are not sure that the problem is related to the liver, you should visit the healthcare provider for a referral.
Many have ongoing problem liver problems and who seek pre or post-operative care for liver surgery. Then some patients may have been referred to a specialist but would like to have a second opinion may also need to visit Hepatology doctor in Kolkata.
Many online healthcare sites list best Hepatologist in the area. However, you need to look at their experience, fee, availability and specialization before making an appointment. You can look at the review of the patients to arrive at a decision.