Liver is the largest organ of the body and rests beneath the diaphragm, just to the right side of the stomach. Hepatic Artery and Portal Vein are the two blood vessels that connect with the liver. The digested food nutrients are carried through the portal vein, while the hepatic artery carries blood to the rest of the body. Being the largest organ, it also carries out numerous functions like, protein synthesis, detoxification and even produces biochemical for digestion purpose.
Other functions include glycogen storage, plasma protein synthesis and hormone production. Liver also controls the metabolism of the body. However, there are certain diseases that have affected the liver resulting into improper functioning. There could be many diseases that could target the liver, but ultimately all hepatic diseases undergo four stages: Inflammation, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis and Liver Failure. This article gives you the detail of how each stage progresses into other, completely damaging the liver.
As liver is necessary for survival, an unhealthy lifestyle can cause a lot of pressure on it and lead to liver diseases. Hepatitis causes liver inflammation. Hepatitis is a virus, that spreads through blood transmission and by living in an unclean environment. This virus is further classified into three types, Hepatitis A, B and C. An individual suffering from hepatitis, may not show any symptoms if it's a minor virus. However, if the virus stays longer, it might result into liver inflammation. If the illness is not well treated on time, the virus could progress, leading an individual into further stages of diseases.
- Change in tastes
- Low appetite
- Pain on the right ribs due to inflammation
- Joint and muscle pain
- Yellowing skin and whites of the eye
- Dark urine
In case of chronic hepatitis, the person may suffer from jaundice, which might result into serious liver condition. Also unhealthy living such as consumption of drugs and alcohol or any other toxins can bring a lot of pressure on the liver, causing it to enlarge. Letting go of such habits can prevent a person from falling prey to such a dreadful disease.
Unattended liver inflammation can lead to fibrosis. Pressure caused due to inflammation causes enough damage to the liver. Hence, liver begins to develop a scar around the damaged portion. During this process, the tissues get accumulated and block the blood flow to the liver. The body stops producing new and healthy tissues and slows down the functioning of the liver. The liver tends to work gradually to carry out its functions. Over load of work, damages the liver and results into cirrhosis. The main causes of liver fibrosis are Hepatitis C, Autoimmune hepatitis and overuse of alcohol.
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Itchy feet and hands
- Abdominal pain
- Intestinal bleeding
- Dark urine
- Swelling of legs
- Accumulation of fluids
There are cases, where an individual might not even notice the symptoms of fibrosis and directly suffer from liver cirrhosis. If the symptoms of this stage are ignored it could progress and result into tremendous discomfort and pain.
Cirrhosis results into liver's malfunctioning. Scarring hinders blood flow as well as generation of healthy tissues. Though this organ tries to perform all the functions, cirrhosis hinders it from performing functions such as fighting infections, detoxification, processing nutrients and regulate blood flow. Cirrhosis could damage the liver and result into cancer or failure.
- Accumulation of toxins
- Increase in the size of blood vessels
Cirrhosis cannot be prevented, but one must take care of the health and prevent oneself from falling prey to any infections. A minor infection during this stage could be problematic and deteriorate the health.
Liver failure could be acute or chronic. However, reaching this stage requires immediate medical treatment. The main cause for liver failure is ignoring first three stages of this disease and intake of alcohol and drugs. Reaching the liver failure is a clear sign, that the liver has sustained enough damage and neglecting this stage, can lead to death.
- Increase in sleep
- Extremely low appetite
- Muscle twitches
- Swollen legs
Liver transplant is the only option that could work to overcome this stage. However, following a good health care regimen can also increase your lifespan and avoid further complication.
Early diagnosis of this disease can save you from becoming victim of any kind of diseases. Seeking the doctor's help on time, following a healthy diet and maintaining a clean environment can save us from many diseases.