Chronic liver diseases among children and infants are rising at a fast rate. Several pediatric liver disease conditions are precursors of adult disorders such as chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. The key reason for this vast prevalence of liver diseases is the latency of symptoms in the early stages, so the disease remains untreated for a very long time.

Major Childhood Liver Diseases are:

Autoimmune Disease: body's immune system attacks the normal cells of the liver causing inflammation and liver damage. It is a Chronic condition and can lead to cirrhosis. Liver transplant may be needed.

Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis (CHF): liver disease present since birth causing abnormal function. It is associated with impaired hepatic and renal function. Drug metabolism and blood filtration are affected.

Hepatitis A: It is an infectious disease of the liver which is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms typically last eight weeks and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, fever, and abdominal pain. In some cases, recurrence may occur after 6 months.

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): The most common lifestyle hepatic disease among children today is Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD is defined as >5% of liver cells containing fat deposition in the absence of alcohol intake. The major concern is the likelihood of development of cirrhosis and liver failure. Another such condition is Non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which is defined as fat deposition plus inflammation, ballooning, and fibrosis.

Wilson's Disease: It is a genetic disorder involving copper build up in the body. Brain and liver are typically affected. Liver related symptoms include weakness, fluid build up in the abdomen, vomitting, yellowish skin, and itchiness. Brain related symptoms include tremors, trouble speaking, personality changes, anxiety, and hallucinations.

Bilateral Atresia: It is the leading cause of cirrhosis in children. Biliary atresia develops when the child is born without bile duct or with an abnormal bile duct. Biliary atresia is the cause for about 50% of all liver transplants among pediatric patients.

If left untreated, these diseases can result in Full blown liver failure. There are two main types of liver failure are as follows:

When liver failure occurs due to a sudden illness with no history of liver disease, it is called acute or fulminant liver failure.

When liver failure results at the end of a pre existing long standing liver disease, it is called chronic liver failure or end stage liver disease. Chronic liver failure is associated with severe scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis

The symptoms and signs that a patient of pediatric disease presents varies greatly based on subjective physiology, and between the 100 different liver diseases which can affect children and young people. Hence, liver disease can be really hard to diagnose.

Some common symptoms include: abdominal swelling, change in sleep pattern, creamy-yellow colored stools, jaundice (skin and eye yellowing), loss of appetite, nausea, blood in urine, pruritus (itching), tiredness, loss of stamina and vomiting.

Greater insight into hepatobiliary physiology and the practice of more precise approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease in pediatric patients has provided better understanding of the nature and role of genetic or metabolic aberrations on immature liver structure and function.

A barrier to early management of liver diseases is that parents are ignorant to warning signs or are sometimes receiving unnecessary reassurance from untrained medical professionals claiming to be Pediatric surgeons who make them believe that symptoms like jaundice are normal in newborns.

The nature of inherited and acquired disorders of liver in infants and children should be given due care by including both liver transplantation and non-transplant treatment procedures by hepatobiliary surgeons and pediatric hepatologists.

To know more about your specific condition, please visit a Hepatobilliary Surgeon in a trusted hospital close to you.

Author's Bio: 

Aditya Mewati is a content writer at a online healthcare platform Logintohealth. Please visit or to read more health related blogs.