The liver is one of the hardest working glands in our body. It carries out many vital functions to keep us going. Here are a few to give you some idea…
- It breaks down fat
- Converts glucose to glycogen
- Stores vitamins and minerals
- Produces bile that helps in digestion
- Removes harmful substances from the blood
The liver is the largest gland in the body. However, the most interesting fact about the liver is that it has the ability to regenerate to its original shape and size even if, as much as, 3/4th of the liver is damaged.
What is Liver Failure?
Hepatic failure or liver failure occurs when the liver is unable to perform its functions and further it loses its ability to regenerate and fix itself. There are two kinds of liver failures:
- Chronic Liver Failure– It a progressive destruction of the liver over a period of 6 months or longer. This leads to fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Causes of Chronic Liver Failure
- Hepatitis B and C
- Long-term consumption of alcohol
- Metabolic diseases such as Hemochromatosis (a disorder that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron)
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Acute Liver Failure– It is characterized by the loss of the functions of the liver in a matter of a few days or weeks. It can occur in people who have had absolutely no liver diseases. It is less common than the former.
Causes of Acute Liver Failure
- Acetaminophen (found in some cough and cold medicines sold over the counter) overdose
- Hepatitis A, B, and C
- Poisoning by substances such as mushrooms, certain organic solvents, and phosphorus
- Drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.
Liver failure is a life-threatening disease and it requires hospitalization.
Symptoms of liver failure
- Loss of appetite
As liver failure progresses, the following symptoms may manifest and it would require medical attention:
- Disorientation or confusion
- Bleeding easily
- Enlarged or swollen abdomen
Especially in the earlier stages, there may not be any physical symptoms that the liver is failing. Some people do not have any symptoms but can be detected in a clinical setting. As liver failure progresses, the symptoms become more evident and more serious.
In some cases of acute liver damage, if liver failure is detected during the initial stages, it could be reversed or the liver heals itself with some medical care.
In the case of chronic liver failure, treatment is aimed at rescuing the functioning parts of the liver. If it is diagnosed in the later stages then the only way out would be to have a liver transplant.
There are certain things you could do to avoid getting liver diseases like:
- Drink in moderation not mare than 4drinks a week and not more than 2 at a time,
- Get vaccinations for hepatitis A and B
- Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and substances
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Use drugs wisely
Take care of your liver, if you want it to work for you.
We, at One Life support and educate those patients coping with liver diseases. We have in place a holistic health care system in place for providing timely treatments and coordinating with the primary physician and other healthcare providers. For more information call us on our toll-free number 1800 425 19999.