Liver Failure

Article published on 31st May 2008

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Acute liver failure is the loss of function of 80-90% liver cells due to severe degeneration of the organ after the first symptoms of liver disease manifest (usually jaundice). The medical term for this condition is ‘hepatic failure’ and it is essentially the liver cannot repair damage to itself.

If the liver becomes damaged to this degree its functioning is unsurprisingly impaired which leads to the build of toxic substances that are usually filtered out of the blood. These toxins travel around the body and eventually build up in the brain, impairing cognition, causing severe physical tremors and even sending victims into a coma. Although these symptoms are generally reversible, if left too long before treatment is sought the condition can result in death.

There is no difference in the incidence of liver disease in men and women, with, on average, 600 liver transplants in the UK performed in the UK every year.

There are many potential causes to liver failure, including, but not limited to:

...and many others. Although liver disease is no where near as prolific in the UK as heart disease, there are many ways it can develop and it is one of the more dangerous critical illnesses in terms of mortality rates.

Check with your GP at the first signs of jaundice, regardless of how young or otherwise healthy you may be, and if you have any critical illness or health insurance be sure to check that it includes liver failure within the cover offered.

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