Chronic liver failure is defined as a liver failure that cannot be undone but the treatment can only help to reduce the effect of the damage. Chronic liver failure is called cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is when there is scarring in the liver replacing healthy liver tissues. Scarring in the liver affects the functioning of the liver and it is a long-term liver disease that cannot be cured but controlled. This scarring and damage caused to the liver is not a sudden reaction on the liver but instead built over time.
The liver is the largest internal organ of the body and needs attention as it is responsible for removing waste such as toxins and medicines from the body, miles bile to help the body to digest food easily, produces new proteins, and acts as a container for sugar which is then utilized by the body for energy.
Cirrhosis does not show any early signs or symptoms until and unless the liver is severely damaged. Below are some signs and symptoms that may occur:-
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Itchy skin
- Redness on the hands
- Loss of periods (not related to menopause)
- Jaundice (Yellowish skin and eyes)
- Slurred speech
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Frequent feelings of nausea and vomiting
- Edema (Swelling in legs, feet, or ankles)
- Excess fluid in the abdomen
- Loss of sex drive in men
There can be several factors that could have led to chronic liver failure. There is a wide range of diseases that can damage or scar the liver and lead to cirrhosis. Some of the causes are:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Accumulation of fat (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
- Being overweight
- Copper accumulated in the liver (Wilson’s disease)
- Poor formation of bile ducts
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
- Genetic digestive disorder (Alagille syndrome)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Infection (syphilis)
Chronic liver failure usually doesn’t have any visible symptoms and is often diagnosed with a combination of tests and procedures done in the clinic. The doctor may suggest some tests to help diagnose the cause of liver failure.
- Imaging tests
- Blood tests
- Liver Biopsy
Once the diagnosis is done, the doctor recommends a treatment plan and explains the further process.
Treatment plans for chronic liver failure will depend on the cause and extent to which the liver has been damaged. The progress of the treatment might be slow but can help to manage further complications of chronic liver failure cirrhosis.
To minimise the damage below are the treatment options offered:-
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Try losing an appropriate amount of weight
- Medication to control the damage to liver cells
- Nutritional supplements
- Liver transplant surgery.