Genetic liver diseases are a group of metabolic and genetic defects that typically cause chronic liver disease. They may be found in close relatives of those who have those diseases.
The two most common genetic liver diseases are Hemochromatosis and Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, although there are many rare liver conditions that are known to be inherited.
Hemochromatosis is an iron disorder in which the body stores too much iron. The excess iron, if left untreated, can damage joints and organs (including the liver, pancreas, and heart).
Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a rare disease that is caused by the lack of a specific enzyme. This leads to a buildup of abnormal Alpha 1 Antitrypsin in the liver that can eventually cause liver disease as well as lung disease.
Wilson Disease is a genetic disease that prevents the body from removing extra copper. High copper levels can cause life-threatening damage to the body’s organs. Wilson disease causes liver damage, which can be slowly progressive or acute and very severe.
Gilbert syndrome is a mild inherited disorder of the liver that results in an overabundance of a substance known as bilirubin. People with Gilbert syndrome have an inherited abnormality that causes reduced production of an enzyme involved in processing bilirubin. It is not a disease and does not cause illness or limit life expectancy.