The liver is one of those vital organs responsible for a multitude of important functions in the human body. Located in the upper right side of the abdominal cavity and positioned just below the diaphragm, the liver is the largest internal organ of the human body. Some of the primary functions of the liver include processing nutrients from food, synthesis of bile and detoxification of the body. What if the liver stops functioning all of a sudden? With so many vital processes depending on the liver, it is surely going to be a life-threatening situation. There are a number of factors that can cause a rapid deterioration of the liver function. It occurs gradually and can even take several years to damage the liver completely. A number of liver diseases can damage the liver, so there are a number of symptoms to watch out for as well.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Liver Failure
Some examples of disorders that can deteriorate the liver function include chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, hemochromatosis, long term alcohol consumption and drug-induced liver damage. Liver failure is usually a slow process and is difficult to diagnose in the early stages. This is mainly because the early symptoms of liver failure are quite similar to many other medical conditions. They may not even seem to be associated with the liver. Take a look!
- Lack of appetite
Common Liver Failure Symptoms
Jaundice is one of the most common symptoms of liver failure in humans. It is a sign of the liver's inability to excrete the chemical substance bilirubin from the body. It is characterized by discoloration of the skin and can be easily detected. The skin and eyes turn yellowish, and the urine of the patient appears dark in color. Malfunctioning of the liver leads to jaundice; however, it does not always indicate liver failure.
Ascites, which is characterized by accumulation of large amounts of serous fluid in the peritoneal cavity, is another liver failure symptom in humans. It is often followed by an abnormally protruding stomach, which is one of the common human liver disease symptoms. It is observed that people with serious liver diseases bleed easily. This is because their platelet count is reduced, and hence, the blood does not coagulate quickly at the site of injury.
Poor liver function can lead to accumulation of toxic substances in the blood. These toxic substances in the blood can result in a potentially life-threatening disease, known as liver encephalopathy. This condition is also known as hepatic coma or hepatic encephalopathy. It is associated with the brain function and can cause gradual reduction of cognitive abilities. Some of the common symptoms of this condition include confusion, disorientation, muscle tremors, mood swings, insomnia, loss of consciousness, and abnormal neurological signs. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal.
Treatment options depend on the specific cause of the condition. If diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated effectively with medication. However, in case of severe damage to the liver, a liver transplant may be needed. Hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as you observe any of the liver failure signs.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.