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Types of Liver Failure

Liver failure is a severe deterioration in liver function. Liver failure can result from any type of liver disorder, including viral hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver damage from alcohol or drugs such as acetaminophen. Liver failure occurs only when a large portion of the liver is damaged. It may develop rapidly over days or weeks (which is called acute) or can happen gradually over months or years (which is called chronic).

  • It is caused by the disorder or substance that damages the liver
  • Most people suffer from Jaundice, feel tired and week, and lose their appetite.
  • Other symptoms re like accumulation of fluid within abdomen and tendency to bruise or bleed easily.
  • Based on the physical examination and the blood test liver failure can be diagnosed

People with liver failure usually suffer from jaundice, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy and generally failing health. The main symptom of jaundice is that it makes the skin and white of the eyes appear yellow. Ascites may cause the abdomen to swell. Hepatic encephalopathy may cause confusion or drowsiness. Most people also have the general symptoms like fatigue, weakness, nausea and loss of appetite. In chronic liver failure the deterioration in health may be very gradual until something big happens like vomiting blood or having bloody stool. Ultimately the liver failure is fatal if not treated or if the disorder is progressive. Even after treatment sometimes it may be irreversible. Some people die of bleeding, infection, kidney failure or liver cancer.

Diagnosis

Doctors can usually diagnose liver failure based on symptoms and the result of physical examination. Blood tests are done to evaluate liver function, which is usually severely impaired. To check for possible causes asks for prescription and over the counter drugs, herbal products and nutritional supplements. Blood tests are also done to identify the possible causes.

Treatment

  • Treatment of cause
  • A diet low in animal protein
  • For acute liver failure, immediate treatment
  • Liver transplantation

Treatment very much depends on the cause and the specific symptoms. The urgency of the treatment depends on whether liver failure is acute or chronic, but the principles of the treatment are the same. People are put on salt restricted diet, limiting the amount of animal protein particularly red meat, fish, cheese and eggs. Consumption of animal protein in large quantity can result in brain dysfunction. People are rather advised to take plant protein like soya. Alcohol is completely avoided s it can worsten liver damage.