Liver diseases in general – and viral liver diseases in particular – are the reasons behind a rapidly developing field of medicine which has seen many diagnostic and treatment-oriented achievements in recent years.
Up until 35 years ago, most patients were only diagnosed in very late stages of liver disease, after cirrhosis had flared up, a condition characterized by a number of side effects, including an accumulation of fluids in the stomach, blood in the digestive system, neuro-psychiatric disorders, jaundice, and others. Patients’ life expectancy was short, sometimes a few months, sometimes a few years.
Nowadays, we can diagnose most patients at a very early stage of the disease. Some are at such an early stage, that the patient has not even complained of anything and we can stop and even heal the disease completely using new drugs treatments.
Until a few years ago, the diagnosis was made by performing a liver biopsy, to determine the severity of the disease and a precise diagnosis. Today we can determine the severity of the disease using a non-invasive test called a Fibroscan.