Liver Failure is severe deterioration of liver function. Liver Failure occurs when a large portion of the liver is damaged beyond repair due to any type of liver disorder, leaving the liver unable to function any longer. Liver Failure is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical care. In most cases Liver Failure occurs gradually and over a period of many years. However, a more rare condition known as acute Liver Failure occurs rapidly (in as little as 48 hours) and can be difficult to detect initially.
The initial symptoms of liver failure are often ones that can be due to any number or conditions. Because of this, liver failure may be initially difficult to diagnose. Early symptoms include:
The symptoms take a turn for the worse as Liver Failure progresses and require prompt medical attention. These symptoms include:
There are several causes for liver failure. The most common causes of chronic liver failure (where the liver fails over months to years) include:
Treatment options depend on the cause. If detected early enough, acute liver failure caused by an overdose of acetaminophen can sometimes be treated and its effects reversed. In a similar manner, if the liver failure is due to a virus, supportive care can be effectively provided in a hospital until the virus runs its course. In both these cases the liver will sometimes recover on its own.
If liver failure is the result of long-term deterioration, the initial focus may be on saving whatever part of the liver is still functioning. If saving part of the liver is not viable, the only other treatment option is a liver transplant. With medical progress, liver transplants are common procedures that have considerable success rate.
Even though some liver diseases are impossible to prevent, there are many strategies that people can adopt to protect their livers, maximize their health and limit the risk of developing Cirrhosis or Hepatitis.
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