What Causes a Low Attenuation Liver Lesion
Liver lesions are also known as liver tumours which abnormal masses of cells or tissue in the liver. Most liver lesions are benign, meaning non-cancerous and do not cause any significant concern. But some liver lesions can be cancerous that often require surgical intervention and medical treatment. The treatment and prevention of liver lesions usually depend on the extent (stage) of the liver lesion.
What is Meant by Low Attenuation Liver Lesion?
Low attenuation liver lesions refer to less intense liver lesions that are difficult to distinguish and diagnose in liver imaging tests such as liver CT (computed Tomography, PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan.
Who are More Prone to Liver Lesions? What Causes Lesion on Liver?
A liver lesion can be caused due to various underlying health complications. The following factors may also increase the risk of developing liver lesions, leading to liver cancer.
- Liver cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is a late-stage liver disease characterised by fibrosis or scarring of the liver tissues leading to liver cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption, hepatitis B or C infection can increase the risk of developing liver cirrhosis. Treatment for cirrhosis involves medications to slow the progression of liver damage, and for severe cases, liver transplant surgeries are usually recommended.
- Hepatitis Infection: Patients with hepatitis B or C viral Infections are more susceptible to liver lesions that may lead to liver cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity people tend to pose an increased risk of hormonal imbalance, causing diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD).
- Genetic Liver Diseases: The following two most common Inheritable genetic disorders account for a large percentage of developing liver lesions and cancer.
- Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder characterised by excess storage of iron in the liver. The excess accumulation of iron in the liver may cause severe symptoms and may lead to several liver lesions and cancer complications.
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: It is an inherent genetic disorder characterised by no or lesser secretion of a vital liver protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. The lack or less secretion of alpha-1 antitrypsin in the liver makes the liver more prone to enzymatic attack and damages, causing liver cirrhosis and associated liver diseases.
- COVID-19: Recently discovered new coronavirus affects different people in different ways. Current studies and reports show evidence of an association between COVID-19 infection and liver damage. People with pre-existing liver lesions and damage are more susceptible to organ failure and other associated life-threatening complications.
- Hepatotoxic agents: Hepatotoxic agents are chemicals that are capable of causing liver damage. This hepatotoxic chemical includes a wide variety of industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), arsenic, aflatoxin, carbon tetrachloride solvent, and other drug-induced medications.
Each hepatotoxic chemical substance induces liver toxicity in different ways. Repeated exposure or improper handling of such toxic agents can cause severe liver damage in the long run. Some of the most common hepatotoxic agents include,
- Aflatoxins: Aflatoxins are naturally mutagenic substances produced by fungi found on grains and nuts. These poisonous substances are often capable of causing cancer. High-level exposure or oral consumption of large doses of aflatoxins can cause life-threatening complications.
- Arsenic poisoning: Arsenic poisoning is one of the most common types of inorganic carcinogen affecting a large population worldwide. Prolonged consumption of water contaminated with arsenic can run the risk of liver and cardiovascular health.
- Over-the-counter medications (OTC): Occasionally certain regularly used prescription medications and over-the-counter medications (OTC) products sold in pharmacies without the need for prescription can potentially damage the liver causing toxic liver disease. Some of the common medications that are associated with an adverse effect on the liver include,
- Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
- Oral antifungal drugs
- Antidepressants such as tetracyclic antidepressant, agomelatine, and bupropion
Fortunately, most liver lesions are benign (noncancerous) and do not cause any major threat. However certain liver lesion or tumor can become malignant (cancerous) posing higher risk and requires surgical interventions for treatment. Early diagnosis and prevention from the best liver hospital in Coimbatore can significantly reduce the risk of developing liver lesions.