Liver Failure: Causes
1. Liver cancer
Cancer that starts in the liver or spreads from other body part damages its cells, ultimately leading to liver failure.
2. Diseases of the veins in the liver
Vascular diseases, such as budd-chiari syndrome, can cause blockages in the veins of the liver and lead to acute liver failure.
3. Primary sclerosing cholangitis
This is the condition in which inflammation of bile ducts causes them to scar and narrow. It results in obstruction of bile flow, which may lead to pool in the biliary system. This pool of bile may get infected causing pain, fever and jaundice (cholangitis). In the long term, inflammation due to bile accumulation causes scarring and ultimately cirrhosis. This is more common in men than in women.
4. Prescription medications
Prescription given by some medical experts which includes antibiotics, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-convulsants, can cause acute liver failure. Some of the herbal drugs and supplements, which include kava, ephedra, skullcap and pennyroyal may sometimes lead to acute liver failure. However, this is only in rare cases. Some of the toxins that can cause acute liver failure include the poisonous wild mushroom commonly named as amanita phalloides, which is sometimes mistaken by people as an edible specie.
5. Acetaminophen overdose
Consumption of too much of acetaminophen (like tylenol) can lead to acute liver failure, which is most common in the United States of America. This occurs if very large dose of acetaminophen is taken all at once or it can occur if you take higher than recommended doses for several days, especially in people with chronic liver disease.
This disease occurs due to genetic defect. In this condition, too much iron accumulates in the body. If adequate amount of iron accumulates in the liver, it leads to cirrhosis and inflammation. This disease is the major cause of liver failure in European countries mainly.
7. Primary biliary cirrhosis
This disease causes damage to bile duct due to which flow of bile does not take place properly and the bile accumulates up in the liver. This may be an autoimmune disease. After a long period, it results in scarring and cirrhosis. Middle aged or elderly people are most susceptible to this disease.
8. Non alcoholic fatty liver disease
This is a condition in which the liver of a person becomes fatty even though he is not a drinker or drinks very little alcohol. People who are overweight (obese) or those who have diabetes are most susceptible to it. If fatty liver disease progresses much, it leads to non alcoholic steatohepatitis, a condition in which inflammation and scarring of liver occurs that can result in cirrhosis. It causes liver cancer and hence liver failure.
9. Regular and excess use of alcohol
One of the basic functions of the liver is to filter toxins like alcohol out from body fluid. Through metabolism in liver, alcohol produces fat. Due to excess drinking, the liver accumulates a lot of fat. Thus, the liver cells become greasy and unable to work properly. In the long term, this fat can cause harm to liver. In serious cases, it causes inflammation of liver walls, a condition called alcoholic hepatitis. In certain cases, scarring of liver occurs called cirrhosis.
10. Hepatitis virus
Hepatitis A may cause stern illness accompanied by liver failure. The virus (called HAV virus) spreading this disease is carried by faeces, through contaminated food or drink. This disease is transmitted from person to person. It is also transmitted during anal or oral sex.
Hepatitis B causes liver cancer, which in turn cause liver failure. This virus is found in blood and other body fluids. It spreads fast among people and from mother to baby during pregnancy. It also spreads while having sex or through infected needles and syringes. Hepatitis C also causes liver damage and liver cancer. The virus is transmitted by blood and use of already infected syringes. It mainly passes from one person to another during blood transfusion.
Effect of hepatitis virus: During initial phases of hepatitis, a person experiences diarrhea, loss of appetite, slight fever, vomiting, muscle and joint pain and/or weight loss. In serious case, he/she may experience headache, circulation problem, dizziness, jaundice and problem while urinating.