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Liver Disease

for Veterans and the Public

Liver disease and other complications

Liver disease is caused by damage to the liver. Liver damage can be caused by many things, including:

  • Viruses (such as the hepatitis viruses)
  • Drinking alcohol heavily
  • Being very overweight
  • Certain medications--for example, acetaminophen (Tylenol), can cause severe liver damage in people who also have heavy alcohol use
  • Exposure to industrial chemicals, including cleaning solvents, aerosolized paints, and paint thinners

Liver damage can lead to livers that are swollen, shrunken, hard, or scarred. Such livers do not work well, and you can get very sick, or even die, if your liver stops working altogether.