Human body consists of various body systems such as respiratory system, circulatory system, nervous system, digestive system and immune system. Each system comprises of chain of various body organs, have a specific function and way of functioning. Abnormality to any system or an organ of the system leads in malfunctioning of system and may result in occurrence of diseases.
Liver is an important part of digestive system. There are number of factors like various types of hepatitis virus infections, jaundice, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune hepatitis and many others, which can lead to malfunctioning of the liver. Some of the effects produced by these abnormalities are less serious and some are more serious. When the more serious abnormalities persist for prolonged period or if left untreated, it may lead to liver failure.
Description of Liver Failure
Liver failure is a term used to denote the dysfunction of liver. Such dysfunction is result of irreparable damaged caused by the larger portion of the liver.
Liver failure is a serious medical condition, which at times proves to be fatal, that requires immediate medical attention. Liver failure does not develop overnight but progresses gradually over period of time.
Though rare, some cases of liver failure may turn to be acute liver failure. Acute liver failure develops in considerably shorter period, say about within 48 hours. The draw back is that acute liver failure can not be detected easily in initial stage.
Causes responsible for Liver Failure
There are number of causes responsible for liver failure. Following are some of the common causes.
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Excessive use of alcohol for prolonged periods
- Reactions to prescription medicines
- Overdose of Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
- Ingestion of wild mushrooms (poisonous)
Liver Failure – signs and symptoms
The symptoms experienced during early stage of liver failure are identical to that of symptoms of any other diseases associated with the liver disorders. This fact makes it difficult to detect the liver failure at early stage. Following are some of the common symptoms of liver failure experienced in early stage of the condition.
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting or nausea
- Abdominal disorders like diarrhea
The symptoms become more severe as the liver failure progresses. Following are common symptoms of liver failure during advanced stage of condition.
- Swelling in abdomen
- Bleeding easily
- Confusion or mental disorientation
Treatment of Liver Failure
Treatment of liver failure is associated with the root cause of development of the condition. If the overdose of acetaminophen is the cause behind development of liver failure, such condition can be treated and its effects can be reversed, if detected at early stage.
When the liver failure is developed due to deterioration with period of time the treatment is aimed at saving the leftover un-affected (still functioning) portion of the liver. If the condition has led to a stage where no portion of functioning liver can be saved, the only ultimatum is liver transplant. Liver transplant is a usual procedure that has high rate of success.