Liver is the largest of internal organs and is situated under the ribs on the right side of the chest. It plays a vital role by producing proteins, storing nutrients, removing harmful...
Liver is the largest of internal organs and is situated under the ribs on the right side of the chest. It plays a vital role by producing proteins, storing nutrients, removing harmful substances from the blood and in clotting of the blood. It also helps in breaking down, processing and absorbing of cholesterol and iron.
The liver regenerates in two ways: one where it replaces the tissues that are damaged due to the contact of harmful substances and the other where, the rest of the liver does the work of the damaged part until the injured tissues are repaired. Mostly, liver failure happens over a period of time but in few acute cases, liver failure happens with 48 hours.
Causes of Liver Failure
Liver disease can be genetic and can often be due to the consumption of certain types of drugs and sometimes by alcohol. It also occurs when infected with Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Other than this, liver problem can also be due to Jaundice, presence of too much iron (Hemochromatosis, a genetic condition), Cirrhosis, and fatty liver due to obesity and by Epstein virus.
Signs of Liver Problem or Failure
Some signs of liver problems are
- Tenderness around the area of the liver
- Swollen abdomen
- Feeling of weakness or fatigue
- Weight loss
Your doctor when suspects a liver problem, can order for tests like blood tests, CT, MRI, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). The tests may vary based on the signs and symptoms.
The patient can follow a low fat, large carbohydrate diet once diagnosed with liver problem. They will have to reduce the consumption of salt and the intake of protein as advised by the doctor. Vitamin B complex is usually prescribed.
Alcohol abuse is the most common reason for liver failure. Prevention or consumption in moderation helps in minimizing the risk. Healthy lifestyle and weight control helps in preventing fatty liver disease.
Prevention of acquiring Hepatitis can be achieved by maintaining proper hygiene and not exposing oneself to Hepatitis prone regions.
Cirrhosis which is the final stage of the many types of liver problem can be permanent leaving the liver to not perform properly and eventually liver failure. Patients with Cirrhosis will have to stay away from alcohol to prevent further damage. When there is a liver problem, common signs like tiredness and weight loss may always not point towards the liver.
It is important to visit the doctor if vomiting and fever persists. However, with Cirrhosis, vomiting blood, rectal bleeding, and mental confusion can occur and requires immediate medical attention.
In case of liver failure where treatments have already been administered, doctors try to save part of the liver which is still working. If this is not possible then the patient will need to have a liver transplant. Liver transplants these days have high success rates. To maintain healthy liver, alcohol prevention and leading a healthy lifestyle is the key.
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