END-STAGE LIVER DISEASE
End-Stage Liver Failure, also called chronic liver failure progresses over months, years, or decades. Here are some of the information regarding End-Stage Liver Failure symptoms and factors as explained by Red Cover Life Planning.
What is an End-Stage Liver Failure?
End-stage liver failure is the result of cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue until the liver cannot function adequately. Patients with abnormal liver function who develop ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, or renal impairment are considered to have the end-stage liver failure.
Any illness that affects the liver over a long period of time may lead to fibrosis and, eventually cirrhosis. Some common causes are heavy drinking, viruses, a buildup of fat in the liver, inherited diseases, toxic effects of drugs and autoimmune diseases. These are more fully explored in the next section.
Cirrhosis has numerous causes. Obesity is becoming a common cause of cirrhosis, either as the sole cause or in combination with alcohol, hepatitis C, or both. Many people with cirrhosis have more than one cause of liver damage.
Cirrhosis is not caused by trauma to the liver or other acute, or short-term, causes of damage. Usually, years of chronic injury are required to cause cirrhosis.
How does Liver Failure happen?
Alcohol-related liver disease
Most people who consume alcohol do not suffer damage to the liver. But heavy alcohol use over several years can cause chronic stage of End-Stage Liver Failure. The amount of alcohol it takes to damage the liver varies greatly from person to person. For women, consuming two to three drinks-including beer and wine-per day and for men, three to four drinks per day can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis.
Chronic hepatitis B and D
The hepatitis B virus is a liver infection that is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood, semen, or other body fluid. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, causes liver inflammation and injury that can lead to cirrhosis. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to all infants and many adults to prevent the virus. Hepatitis D is another virus that infects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, but it occurs only in people who already have hepatitis B.
Drugs, toxins, and infections
Other causes of cirrhosis include drug reactions, prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, parasitic infections, and repeated bouts of heart failure with liver congestion.
Whatever the cause of cirrhosis, it is a difficult disease to manage in its advanced stages, in part because of the complications that it causes. For example, people suffering from cirrhosis also frequently suffer from portal hypertension or elevated blood pressure in the vein that drains into the liver.
End-Stage Liver Failure Symptoms and Factors
End-stage hepatitis C means the liver has been severely damaged by the hepatitis C virus. The hepatitis C virus slowly damages the liver over many years, often progressing from inflammation to permanent, irreversible scarring (cirrhosis). Often, people have no signs or symptoms of liver disease or have only mild symptoms for years or even decades until they have cirrhosis.
Symptoms of the end-stage liver disease may include:
- Intense itching
- Loss of appetite
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Recurring yellowing of your skin and eyes
- Swelling due to fluid build up in your abdomen and legs
Cirrhosis usually progresses to the point where the liver loses most or all of its function — liver failure. In addition, people with cirrhosis may develop:
- Bleeding from the digestive (gastrointestinal) tract due to enlarged veins in the tube that connects the throat and stomach (oesophagus)
- Brain and nervous system damage due to the buildup of toxins in the bloodstream
Causes and factors of end-stage liver disease
A wide range of diseases and conditions can damage the liver and lead to cirrhosis. The most common causes are:
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C)
- Fat accumulating in the liver (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
Other possible causes include:
- Iron buildup in the body
- Cystic fibrosis
- Copper accumulated in the liver
- Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism
- Genetic digestive disorder
- Liver disease caused by your body’s immune system
- Poorly formed bile ducts
- Hardening and scarring of the bile ducts (primary sclerosing cholangitis)
- Destruction of the bile ducts
How to treat Liver Failure
The goal of medicine with regard to the liver is to prevent liver disease and, if it is diagnosed, to stop its progression toward cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is an End-Stage Liver Failure with a poor prognosis and can require a liver transplant if liver failure occurs. Thus, lifestyle changes that support liver health, especially abstention from alcohol, are the cornerstone of treatment for liver disease.
The only effective treatment for people with the end-stage liver disease is a liver transplant. Chronic hepatitis C virus is the most frequent cause of liver transplantation in the United States. Most people who receive a liver transplant for hepatitis C survive for at least five years after their transplant, but almost always the hepatitis C virus returns.
A liver transplant is considered necessary when complications cannot be controlled by treatment. Liver transplantation is a major operation in which the diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy one from an organ donor. A team of health professionals determines the risks and benefits of the procedure for each patient. Survival rates have improved over the past several years because of drugs that suppress the immune system and keep it from attacking and damaging the new liver.
If you’re diagnosed with hepatitis C or End-Stage Liver Failure disease, see a doctor who specializes in gastrointestinal diseases or liver diseases (hepatologist). Newer, more-effective hepatitis C treatments can eliminate the virus in many people, reducing the risk of End-Stage Liver Failure.
How much does it cost to treat End-Stage Liver Failure?
According to The Star, about 400,000 Malaysians have Hepatitis C, but only a fraction can afford the medication, which may cost up to RM300,000 for the full course of treatment. A lot of people are not aware that they are infected. Because they have no symptoms, the illness is not detected. The progression is not just silent but slow.
From the time they get infected with the development of cirrhosis and its complications, it takes 20 to 30 years. In public hospitals, patients are treated in a clinical trial setting while others pay for the medication. One of the ways to know the overall cost of this treatment is best to check with the hospital.
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