Your liver is the largest gland in your body and performs several important functions. Liver damage can lead to different types of ailments which might culminate into liver failure occurring either suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic).
What is the Liver Failure?
Liver failure, in simple terms, is when your liver cannot carry out its tasks properly. The condition may be acute or chronic. It is a life-threatening condition and cases of serious liver damage require an immediate medical response.
How long can a person live with liver failure?
If diagnosed early, liver problems can be treated with medical treatment and modifications in lifestyle. But if the liver begins to shut down fully the liver failure death timeline is only 2 days unless you receive emergency care.
Symptoms of Liver Failure
Liver failure symptoms can be discussed depending either on the first signs of liver failure or symptoms of end-stage liver failure.
First signs of liver failure:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Discomfort in your abdominal area
Symptoms of end-stage liver failure:
- Getting bruised and bleeding easily
- Confusion and feeling disoriented
- Edema in the arms, legs, and abdomen
- Dark-colored urine
- Constant itchiness
Stages of Liver Failure
As per the American Liver Foundation, 4 stages lead up to liver failure. The liver failure stages can be described as follows:
In the early part of liver disease, your liver gets inflamed. You may not experience any symptoms during this stage. But if the inflammation is left unchecked it may lead to permanent damage.
If an inflamed liver is left untreated, scars may begin to develop on it. An increase in the growth of scar tissue on the liver is known as fibrosis. The healthy tissue eventually is replaced by scar tissue which dampens liver function. Getting medical help during this stage creates the possibility of keeping the liver alive.
During this stage, the liver’s tissue becomes hard scar tissue. Symptoms are most commonly seen in this stage. Cirrhosis comes with complications like liver cancer. In the absence of timely treatment, liver will not function properly or at all. While treatment may stop additional damage to the liver, cirrhosis cannot be reversed.
End-stage liver disease
This is the stage where the liver damage has become so bad, that if you do not undergo a transplant the condition can be fatal. The possibility of survival during this stage depends on complications and symptoms.
Causes of Liver Failure
Liver failure causes can be divided into acute and chronic. However, in certain scenarios, the cause may remain unknown.
Acute liver failure and its causes:
This condition develops rapidly leading to liver dysfunction and changes in mental status of patient without known prior liver disease.
Overdose: Excess consumption of drugs like acetaminophen.
Wilson’s disease: A metabolic condition.
Reye’s syndrome: A condition causing swelling of the liver and brain.
Budd Chiari Syndrome: A condition that affects hepatic veins.
Chronic liver failure and its causes:
This condition develops over time. Excessive alcohol consumption is a common cause of this condition.
- Chronic infection of Hepatitis B or C
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Alcohol-related liver disease or ARLD
Treatment of Liver Failure
Liver failure treatment methods involve treating the cause of liver damage. If the cause is a viral infection, medication can be given to treat it to manage the liver disease.
If excessive alcohol consumption is the cause lifestyle modifications are necessary to treat the condition. While inflammation and fibrosis stages of liver disease can be reversed, liver cirrhosis is irreversible but treatment can stop it from worsening.
If you are suffering from end-stage liver disease a liver transplant is your only chance of survival.
Liver Failure Test Cost
Before any treatment, you must test your liver function to assess the damage. Liver function test cost in India is between Rs 700-2000. You can get it done at the best pathology lab nearby such as SRL Diagnostics. SRL is the largest Diagnostics Company in India providing the highest quality diagnostics services to its customers through a very efficient network of labs and collection points.