August 24th, 2015
Liver failure is a condition in which a large part of the liver is damaged and no longer able to function. In cases of acute liver failure, the organ can no longer regenerate or repair itself. The life-threatening condition cannot be reversed and requires liver transplant from a healthy donor.
Liver is a crucial organ of the human body that plays a critical role in different bodily functions, from iron metabolism to protein production, glucose absorption, and blood clotting. Liver also plays a significant role in removing toxins from the body, fighting infections and illness, controlling cholesterol levels, aiding in digestion, and helping blood to clot.
There are two common types of failure of the liver, including
Some of the most common causes of live failure include:
When the liver malfunctions, it can no longer process bilirubin, which is a waste product formed from the breaking down of old red blood cells. When bilirubin cannot be processed, it cannot be eliminated from the body. As a result, bilirubin accumulates in the blood and may also be deposited in the skin, resulting in jaundice.
In another condition, the liver is not able to synthesize enough proteins required for blood clotting. As a result, the condition deteriorates, resulting in unstoppable bleeding, also known as coagulopathy.
If the liver cannot remove toxins from the body, brain function may deteriorate, resulting in buildup of these waste products in the blood. The resulting disorder is termed as hepatic encephalopathy. The liver is responsible for conversion of toxins into urea, which is excreted in the urine.
For some people with liver problems, kidneys malfunction. People with liver problems may have metabolic abnormalities, resulting in a low level of potassium or sugar in the blood.
A failing liver can cause other complications, including
Blood tests are done to determine whether the liver is performing its blood clotting function properly. In acute liver failure, the liver’s blood clotting function is compromised. Further, the doctor may request ultrasound imaging tests to look for signs of liver damage. In some cases, liver biopsy is done to help the doctor determine causes of the failing liver.
Acute liver failure caused by drug overdose can be treated with a medication therapy that reverses the effects of toxins. However, in most acute liver failure cases, liver transplant is the only alternative, since there is no chance of regeneration of the severely damaged liver.
All in all, a healthy lifestyle, with healthy eating and drinking habits, must be adopted to ensure that your liver stays in good health.