Liver Damage or Liver Failure: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Prevention
Health is wealth and every individual survives to live a better lifestyle. As all know, liver is an organ associated with the digestive system in the body and slightest of negligence to the health of Liver can lead to damage or failure. Indeed, Liver is a big lobed glandular organ present inside abdomen of vertebrates, which is involved in numerous metabolic procedures. This necessitates for quality eating that means a person should avoid excess of alcohol, oily food and everything allowing accumulation of cholesterol in Liver. If neglected, the liver cells can get damaged and this can be fatal. Let us see why the liver cells get damaged, what the causes are and how can it be treated or most importantly prevented.
What is Liver Damage or Liver Failure?
Liver plays a vital role in formulating bodily functions like glucose production, cholesterol, and even iron metabolism. As an essential part of the bodily health, it is intended to deliver highest amount of energy source.
Liver damage or liver failure is a serious problem necessitating immediate medical assistance. Liver damage or liver failure is said to be one of the most life-threatening condition that can cause death if not treated immediately. Basically, such type of condition occurs when the liver is unable to function properly because a major part gets damaged beyond repair. As per the medical definition, Liver damage or liver failure is defined as rapid development of hepatocellular dysfunction, particularly encephalopathy (brings in changes in the mental status) and coagulopathy in patients who did not have previous history of liver diseases. The disease becomes life-threatening on entering the stage of Acute Liver Failure.
What Can Cause Liver Damage or Liver Failure?
As said, anything in excess of bodily requirements affects organs extensively and Liver Damage is the perfect example. In the stage of Liver failure, the liver cells happen to get damaged and are not functional at all. There are certain causes that may affect or worsen the condition of liver from time to time.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure Caused Due To Alcohol Abuse: Excessive consumption of alcohol is the biggest reason that leads to liver failure because it affects the health of liver and tends to shrink it with time.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure Caused Due To Liver Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis, a slowly progressive disease, happens when scar tissues replace the healthy liver tissue causing malfunction or dysfunction of the liver leading to damage of liver. Cirrhosis ideally happens due to excessive alcohol consumption, certain infections, diabetes, fibrosis etc.
- Drugs That Can Cause Liver Damage or Liver Failure: Taking excessive dosage of Acetaminophen can lead to liver failure. Certain antibiotics and non-steroidal or even anti-inflammatory drugs when taken without consulting the doctor may also lead to liver damage.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure Caused by Viral Infections: Viral attacks from the viruses like Epstein-Barr, Herpes Simplex, and Cytomegalor can lead to acute liver failure. Even viruses causing Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E can cause acute liver failure.
- Vascular Diseases of the Liver that Can Cause Liver Damage or Liver Failure: Vascular diseases like Budd-Chiari Syndrome, which leads to blockage in the liver veins, can cause liver damage or liver failure.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure Caused by Cancer: Cancer which either starts in or spreads to the liver can also lead to serious liver damage or liver failure.
- Autoimmune and Metabolic Diseases That Can Damage the Liver Damage or Cause Liver Failure: Autoimmune hepatitis, wherein your own immune system attacks the liver cells causing injury and inflammation can also lead to liver damage or liver failure. Metabolic diseases like acute fatty liver of pregnancy and Wilson's disease which are rare might cause liver failure at times.
- Liver Damage or Liver Failure as a Result of Intake of Toxic Food: Amanita phalloides, a wild poisonous mushroom can cause liver damage if eaten by mistake.
- Herbal Medicines That Might Damage the Liver or Cause Liver Failure: Even, the herbal medicines are not untouched as Kava, Skullcap, Ephedra and Pennyroyal are considered as the source of liver failure.
- Liver Damage due to Hemochromatosis: Absorption and storage of too much of iron in the body, an inherited condition known as Hemochromatosis, can also cause Liver Damage or Liver Failure.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Liver Damage or Liver Failure?
The early signs and symptoms of liver failure might be difficult to diagnose as they are very similar to other health condition and many a times it might not produce a symptom. However, if it does, the symptoms are like:
- Loss of Appetite
As the failure advances, the symptoms that are generally seen are as follows:
- Jaundice causing yellowing of the skin, nails and eyeballs
- Excessive Fatigue and weakness
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Tenderness and Swelling in Abdomen
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Perplexity or confusion
- Excessive of Sleepiness
- Weight Loss.
Liver failure can also be acute which can develop and progress in as less as 48 hours and can be fatal. If you or a known person suddenly develops complications like yellowishness of the eyes or delicate skin; sensitivity in the upper abdomen; or any uncommon changes in mental state, character or behavioral changes, there is an immediate need for contacting the medical practitioner for getting the right diagnosis and treatment on time.
How Can Liver Damage or Liver Failure be Prevented?
A good eating and drinking habit keeps the entire body fit and healthy. Liver Damage or failure is a serious complication and hence, there is a need for people to keep a track of certain ill habits or curb down on excessive groping to avoid this condition. Certain things that can help in preventing liver damage or liver failure to occur are:
- Intake of alcohol should be limited. Taking it once in a while is suitable; rather than consuming it daily in excessive quantity.
- It is mandatory to avoid coming in contact with the blood or fluid of sick person because it may lead to Hepatitis, which will open gates for Liver Damage.
- Another thing to be taken care is avoiding consumption of wild mushrooms as it is extremely toxic and can bring in acute liver damage.
- Eating healthy food, less fat and junk food can help in preventing accumulation of fat in liver causing liver damage.
- Avoiding Aerosol sprays or using it in well ventilated rooms is essential as they have toxic chemicals that might affect the health.
- Cover the skin when using insecticides and pesticides.
- Avoid taking non-prescription drugs. Talk to a healthcare professional before taking any medicine.
- Obesity can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease increasing the chances of hepatitis and cirrhosis etc. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight is very essential.
Liver damage or failure is a serious condition. Immediate medical advice must be taken if any of the symptoms are noted without any delay. Delaying might further the disease to its acute stage which can be fatal. However, if risk factors are there for you to develop it like obesity or a family history, start doing the preventive measures to ensure good health.