Liver Failure: Can It Be Prevented?

Yes. Liver Failure occurs when the liver ceases to function due to damages that are beyond repair. It can be brought about by numerous factors including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and long-term excessive consumption of alcohol. Although it’s not something that can happen overnight (except for the acute liver failure that can occur in as quick as 48 hours), it is a serious and life-threatening disease that many people are terrified of. Many wonder if liver failure can be prevented. Before we get to that, let us first know more about its causes and symptoms.

Causes
As mentioned earlier, the main causes of liver failure is excessive alcohol consumption and hepatitis B and C. When a person consumes alcohol, the body undergoes a process called alcohol metabolism. The products generated by this process such as acetaldehyde are even more toxic than the alcohol itself. And this can damage the liver overtime.

The alcohol metabolic process also produces free radicals that damage liver cells. Since alcohol reduces the body’s natural defenses against free radicals, the risk for liver damage increases even more. Hepatitis B, meanwhile, is a liver infection brought about by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis C is caused by hepatitis C virus. Both infections cause severe damage to the liver.

Other causes of liver failure include cirrhosis, hemochromatosis and malnutrition. Cirrhosis is the condition wherein the liver is scarred due to injury or long-term disease. Hemochromatosis, on the other hand, is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron.

Acute Liver Failure can be caused by anything from acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose, hepatitis A, B, and C, reactions to certain medications, and consumption of poisonous mushrooms.

Symptoms
Liver failure can be difficult to diagnose because the initial symptoms are similar to the symptoms of many other conditions. Early symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. Over time, the symptoms become more severe such as jaundice, swollen abdomen, sleepiness, mental disorientation called hepatic encephalopathy, and coma.

Prevention
Can liver failure be prevented? Looking at some of the primary causes of liver failure, the answer is yes, it can be prevented.

The most effective way to prevent this is to lower your risk of developing chronic diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis. To do this, you need to get a hepatitis vaccine to prevent either hepatitis A or B. If you are in need of acetaminophen, take it with caution. Don’t drink alcohol when you’re taking this medication. When having sex, use protection at all times (except of course, if you’re trying to conceive).

Cut down on alcohol consumption. This makes complete sense since alcohol is one of the leading causes of liver failure.

It is also important to practice proper hygiene. Proper hand washing is the key to prevention of spread of germs and bacteria. Make it a habit to wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before touching any food. Do not share personal items especially toothbrushes. If you are going to get a tattoo or body piercing, go to someone who’s reputable and professional. The environment as well as equipment to be used should be completely sanitary.

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