Home Mind & Body Daily Health Liver Disease, Symptoms, Stages & Treatments

Liver Disease, Symptoms, Stages & Treatments

19 min read

The liver is the largest internal organ. The liver performs many large and important functions to keep our body healthier. Its function is to metabolize and store nutrients, purify blood and make proteins, clean the blood by removing drugs, alcohol and potentially harmful chemicals from the blood, and treating these chemicals chemically so that they can be excreted through the digestive system or the urinary tract. Its dysfunction can lead to the death of the patient.

Types of Liver Diseases

The liver (or liver gland) is the largest solid organ of the human body. Its main function is to transform food into energy, but it must also provide other functions. The liver can be damaged in many ways that can significantly affect the whole body.

Hepatic diseases are those that affect the liver. The most common liver diseases are hepatitis (inflammation of the liver caused by a virus), cirrhosis and liver tumors and alcoholism. There are many other risk factors, including metabolic disorders, heart conditions, and infections. In addition the invasion of the liver by parasites, viral infections called hepatitis that can be acute or chronic, genetic malformations.

List of Liver Diseases 

There are hundreds of liver diseases caused by a variety of factors including viruses, toxins, genetics, alcohol and unknown causes. Here we have the following list of liver diseases:

  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver tumors
  • Infiltrative lesions of the liver
  • Functional disorders with jaundice
  • Blockage of the bile duct (stones, scar)
  • Vascular pathology: liver congestive heart failure and cardiac cirrhosis
  • Biliary Atresia is the principal reason for liver failure in kids.
  • Overdose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the top reason for sharp liver failure
  • The liver cancer is also another main reason for the deadliest disease


Early Symptoms of Liver Diseases

At an early stage, liver diseases are often silent and difficult to diagnose. It is detected when the liver can no longer provide these functions sufficiently, then some signs appear dramatically. Here are some main symptoms that must alert you. Signs and symptoms of liver diseases are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain
  • General fatigue
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Decreased libido (sexual desire)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • The appearance of small subcutaneous blood vessels or easy bruising
  • Swelling of the abdomen and legs caused by fluid accumulation
  • Weakness
  • A loss of weight

People with cirrhosis should consult a doctor urgently if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Mental confusion
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Vomiting blood

Liver Disease Medical Infographic

 The Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The liver is responsible for several important functions. It converts sugars into glycogen and stores it until the body needs it. The liver also produces certain chemicals necessary for the breakdown of food and alcohol, the removal of harmful toxins from the blood, and the production of proteins that help the blood to coagulate properly.

The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when people who drink little or no alcohol develop certain liver conditions. It tends to occur in people who are overweight and have diabetes or high cholesterol and triglycerides.

The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may present as a simple accumulation of fat in the liver, a benign condition also known as simple steatosis. In simple steatosis, fats accumulate inside the liver, usually without causing damage to the liver cells. A more serious form of the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a more serious condition because inflammation and tissue growth within the liver can lead to cirrhosis or liver scarring.

The Prevention and Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease

Since the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with other risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol, the management of some of them may help to control this condition.

Treatment of a person with non-alcoholic fatty liver may include:

  • Regular physical activity
  • A diet with fewer toxins (e.g. alcohol)
  • The substitution of certain medications that are less likely to cause nonalcoholic fatty liver than those you already take
  • Control of high cholesterol levels
  • The balance of diabetes

Liver Failure (Hepatic Failure)

Hepatic failure occurs when the liver is unable to function and repair or regenerate itself. Hepatic failure is dangerous, it is necessary to contact a doctor urgently. Generally, liver damage occurs gradually over the years. However, it can also be affected by acute hepatic failure that occurs quickly (in less than 48 hours), which may be difficult to detect early.

Classification/Stages of liver failure

  1. Acute or fulminant hepatic failure means that the injury occurs within 8 weeks of the onset of liver disease.
  2. Hepatic failure with late-onset (also called subacute) occurs within 8 to 26 weeks of onset of liver disease.
  3. Decompensated chronic liver failure occurs when the latency period is greater than six months.

The difference may not be immediately obvious because the underlying disease may have been present for a long time without being diagnosed.

 Type of liver failure

  1. Mild symptoms: poor digestion, bitter mouth, loss of appetite, itching, drowsiness and meteorism
  2. Average symptoms: fatigue, weight loss, portal hypertension, hemorrhage, jaundice, swollen belly
  3. Severe symptoms: personality changes, hemorrhage, tremors, portal systemic hepatic encephalopathy (PES) and coma (end-stage patient)

Cause of liver failure by type

The most common causes of chronic liver failure are:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcoholism
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hemochromatosis (a hereditary disease that causes the absorption and retention of excess iron in the body)
  • Malnutrition

Prognosis and survival duration

In cases of severe hepatic impairment, with ascites and encephalitis phase III or IV, life expectancy is 1 to 3 years and survival at 1 year is less than 20%.

Patients who do not suffer from encephalopathy or ascites have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years and a survival at 1 year of about 90%.

Liver Disease Treatments

Best Foods for LiverLiver disease treatments contain a broad variety of circumstances and causes. In several cases the treatment of the situation is medicinal, that is to declare, and it aims to cure.

However, in some therapy alone is intended to prevent the progression of the disease; reduce the symptoms of the disease; or reverse the damage already done. Treatment is sometimes important to prevent fatal or life-threatening complications.

  1. Infectious hepatitis – with viral hepatitis there are some antiviral agents and drugs that can be used to treat the infection. This is interferon, etc. Ribavirin. Many new drugs are also used in hepatitis b and c. While there is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, there is nothing to prevent the hepatitis c virus.
  2. Hepatitis patients need maintenance, hydration and rest while the disease is addressed by the immune system.
  3. Patients with cholelithiasis often require surgery to remove gallbladder and stones. This surgery can be performed in a traditional open manner, or more commonly using laparoscopic surgery procedures.
  4. Liver disease related to alcohol: stopping alcohol is a primary treatment. Another therapy involves treating the complications of liver disease.
  5. Autoimmune hepatitis – steroid agents and other suppressing immunity can be used in these cases.
  6. When there is obstruction of the bile ducts in cholestatic liver disease a drug called ursodeoxycholic acid is given to slow down the damage. Surgery may also be necessary in some cases of the cholestatic liver disease.
  7. Hemochromatosis – since iron overload is regularly “bloody” by a procedure called denudation is used with drugs to remove excess iron.
  8. Drugs that bind excess copper liked-penicillamine are used to make excessive copper harmless and it excretes from the body.
  9. In liver cancers specific anti-cancer drugs are used to treat cancer. These patients may need surgery to remove cancer followed by chemotherapy, radiation and even liver transplantation in some patients.
  10. Liver transplantation is necessary in some cases. More commonly in cirrhosis due to alcoholic liver disease; Hepatitis C induces a liver disease or primary biliary cirrhosis


A healthier liver is a precious organ in your body that controls many functions; provide you the best nutrition for the whole body. If the liver may get any instability/disease then the whole body would face many serious complications related to your health. Prevention of this condition requires that you take care of your daily health. It is important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight by choosing healthy foods and exercising regularly. Management of certain conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol may also reduce your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

There are no natural cures that cure liver failure. However, after the cure, you have to change your lifestyle in order to feel better and avoid relapses. Limit medication and alcohol consumption as much as possible. Your diet should be low in fat, especially saturated fat, and one should avoid consuming fried foods. Remember a healthier liver is the sign of a healthier life.

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