Children's Liver Disease: Let's banish the monsters

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) - Children often fear things that aren't real - monsters in the closet or alligators under the bed. At one time or another every parent has been called upon to play the hero and banish these invisible threats.

But no magic spell or super-power can vanquish the very real monster stalking thousands of children in Canada today. Liver disease takes many different forms - some spread by viruses, others through genes or unknown causes. It's invisible and can strike without warning.

The most common childhood liver diseases have long complicated names like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, biliary atresia, tyrosinemia and Wilson disease. What they all have in common however, is that they have no cure. The best that medical science can do is keep these liver diseases at bay through surgery, special diets and/or powerful doses of steroids and other drugs. Ultimately, many of these children will end up on transplant waiting lists. Some will die before a life-saving transplant can be performed.


The best defence against children's liver diseases is early detection. The Canadian Liver Foundation's new 'Jaundice Alert' Program arms new parents, caregivers and health care professionals with knowledge so they can recognize the signs and symptoms in children that may indicate liver problems. Early diagnosis and treatment can often mean the difference between life and death.

Through research and education, we hope to one day banish children's liver disease forever. To find out how you can help or for information on children's liver disease or the 'Jaundice Alert' program, please contact the Canadian Liver Foundation at 1-800-563-5483 or visit


- News Canada